Tram drivers in Dubai to get VR-based training

Dubai - The RTA's Rail Agency launched the initial phase of VR technologies in collaboration with Serco.


A Staff Reporter

Published: Sun 19 Jul 2020, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 20 Jul 2020, 9:47 AM

Tram drivers in Dubai will now receive virtual reality (VR) based training, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced.
In collaboration with Serco, the Dubai Metro and Tram Operator, the RTA's Rail Agency launched the initial phase of VR technologies as a smart tool to enrich the training of tram drivers, improve their performance and reduce related accidents.
"Trainee drivers will be subjected to various case scenarios to hone their skills of controlling trains and avoiding incidents. Such exposure will also boost the safety of passengers and develop drivers' reactions towards anticipating and avoiding the mistakes of others," said Hassan Mohammad Al Mutawa, director of operations, RTA's Rail Agency.
"VR technologies are easy to understand as they are built on creating a perception of reality simulating the real world. They contribute to monitoring and assessing drivers' performance as well as identifying areas of improvement. It will be possible to gauge the impact of training and the drivers understanding of the training content, which will also enhance the overall performance," he explained.
"Several mounting points were trialled to ensure that the camera did not impact on the tram drivers line of sight as well as not being too much of a distraction to the driver as well. The VR headset has been trialled for feedback by numerous tram drivers and other frontline staff, all of whom have been supportive of the use of the new technology and can see its value in improving training.
"The next phase will be to work with the Tram Training Team and develop VR content, which compliments the in-classroom training, and encourage the use VR-based training in all future training courses for tram drivers as well as expand the use of the technology to other areas of the transport sector. We believe that the interactive nature of VR training transforms skills development into an impactful, risk-free training experience" he added.
"RTA will also work with Serco to expand the plans of VR-based training in the future. The scope of the technology will expand beyond tram and can be used in rail maintenance, risk assessments, incident investigations, metro sweep train, safe work instructions and other training etc," said Al Mutawa.
Wallace Weatherill, managing director of Serco Middle East for the Dubai Metro and Tram contract, said: "Working closely with the RTA to introduce the VR based training, supplements traditional training method and helps trainees' transition between classroom-based theoretical training and in-cab practical training.
"RTA has been supportive of the use of VR technology to improve the training experience of tram drivers and provide innovative, immersive and simulative training methods to provide tram drivers with the best training possible. RTA has been consulted and updated throughout the process and has also been able to view the VR technology and have been very positive with their feedback on the tram trial," he added.

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