New simulator drives blue-light safety

A state-of-the-art driving simulator designed to improve safety at speed for all blue-light drivers was unveiled at the Local Government Association’s annual fire conference in Bristol earlier this month.

Mar 23, 2016
By Paul Jacques

A state-of-the-art driving simulator designed to improve safety at speed for all blue-light drivers was unveiled at the Local Government Association’s annual fire conference in Bristol earlier this month.

While the prototype has been created to exactly mimic a standard fire engine, the concept can be adapted to any emergency response vehicle.

It is the first emergency services driving simulator of its kind in the UK to be built with a 200-degree wrap-around screen, which will give drivers a fully immersive experience.

The prototype is the culmination of 18 months’ research and development work by the safety and mission-critical support services company Babcock International Group.

The concept will be used to support traditional driver training, but as it takes place inside and not on the road, it will be conducted in a safe and hazard-free environment.

Alistair Cumming, head of training, design and development for Babcock’s Skills and Learning business, said the plan was to work in partnership with the emergency services to help them adapt and transition to proposed legislative changes, as well as developing skills for blue light drivers.

Emergency services will need to adapt their training to comply with proposed changes to the Road Safety Act 2006, which will require regular refresher training for drivers.

The project team commissioned Coventry-based Serious Games International to develop the software programme and Motion Simulation in Slough to develop the hardware for the prototype.

The ‘intelligent’ software is programmed with 167 miles of multi-terrain routes, including urban, inner city and rural scenarios.

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