Driving can be a tricky business that takes skill and practice. That’s why L-3 came to Bennett International Group’s home office in McDonough, Georgia on June 11, 2015 with what they call “a new approach to driver training.”
Let’s face it, sitting in the driver’s seat of a big rig can be both scary and intimidating, even for the most seasoned drivers, especially given certain scenarios such as the uncertainties of weather, terrain, other vehicles pedestrians, and more. But with L-3’s training solution, driver training can be taken to a new level. According to representatives from the company, with the help of a driver simulator, L-3’s training solution is unique because it can adapt to the driver’s skill level.
Several Bennett home office employees sat in the driver’s seat and tested out the training technology firsthand. With a back-lit, LCD screen that reaches a height of 76.8,” a width of 110.6,” a depth of 60.9,” and first-rate graphics, drivers sit in a custom seat based on the type of vehicle they are “driving,” in this case an F150 truck and flatbed. Once mirrors are adjusted and the seat belt buckled, the driver is ready to take the wheel and test their driving skills. Different driving scenarios are set based on weather and road conditions and area. For example, drivers can find themselves climbing a mountainside during a winter snowstorm in Denver or driving the narrow and crowded streets of a neighborhood in Anytown, USA. And during the 10 to 15 minute exercise, a driver may find him or herself driving through several different scenarios before reaching the end of the exercise. Drivers can also get the “feel” like they are really driving through the dash and the custom seat. And throughout the exercise, the simulator can record the driver’s skill and reactions to adverse situations that can be played back and viewed as a teaching tool.
For professional truck drivers, the training technology can start with a virtual pre-trip inspection, a DOT requirement prior each haul, with technology that includes about 240 embedded CSA violations. Based on that virtual pre-trip inspection, the driver can get a custom driving scenario with correlations between pre-trip inspection and the route, which allows a company to obtain a risk profile for each driver. For example, if the driver misses a defect in a tire during the pre-trip inspection, he or she will likely experience a blowout during the driving scenario.
Randall Vernon, vice president of safety at Bennett International Group, said that safety is Bennett’s number one priority.
“We are always looking at different options that focus on safety and make us safer as a company,” Vernon said.
L-3 representatives said they are already helping a large number of transportation companies improve their accident stats with this training technology. They are also looking to improve the technology with the use of Google Maps, and in the future, drivers will be able to simulate their actual routes so they can anticipate and overcome challenges before they hit the road.
For more information about L-3, visit L-3 Training.