Global logistics company UPS has launched a Virtual Reality program to train its delivery drivers.
The Virtual Reality (VR) headsets will be used to train student drivers to spot and identify road hazards, through vivid simulation of a city street while teaching a more memorable classroom lesson.
The company will begin launching VR training in September at its nine UPS Integrad training facilities in the US.
IT experts at UPS created the VR training modules that users see and hear inside VR headsets like the HTC Vive. Students using the modules must verbally identify potential road hazards such as pedestrians, parked cars and oncoming traffic.
The 360-degree view inside the headset is realistic down to the finest details.
"Virtual Reality offers a big technological leap in the realm of driver safety training," said Juan Perez, UPS chief information and engineering officer.
"VR creates a hyper-realistic streetscape that will dazzle even the youngest of our drivers whose previous exposure to the technology was through video games."
The VR training modules replace the touchscreen devices UPS Integrad facilities currently use to teach lessons on road hazards.
For now, the VR training is only for those who drive package delivery trucks. But the company is exploring VR and even Augmented Reality (AR) for training Semi drivers and performing other duties throughout the operation. UPS currently operates eight UPS Integrad facilities in the United States and two others in Europe.
Another U.S. facility is set to open this year, bringing the total to nine in the United States.
UPS Integrad facilities teach students the fundamentals of driving delivery vehicles and delivering packages using a hands-on approach.
Students even practice driving UPS delivery trucks in a replica outdoor city that has real streets and sidewalks and simulated delivery and pickup sites.
"This training is foundational, and Virtual Reality brings it to life," UPS Integrad expansion director Jeanne Lawrence said.
"VR complements real-world training in a way that deeply engages our employees in the UPS Integrad curriculum."