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Virtual Reality Training to Attract Younger Drivers Could Offset Truck Driver Shortage, Says One Expert 

| August 27, 2018

Truck driver training on virtual reality simulator

Truck drivers are in high demand but the industry has come up a bit short on the supply side.

Consider the numbers: The U.S. trucking industry facing a major driver shortage, with a need to hire 900,000 new operators by 2028 just to maintain the current workforce.

  • In addition to the lack of drivers, U.S. fleets —responsible for transporting over 70% of goods consumed in the U.S.— are suffering from a dwindling supply of qualified new drivers, compounding the industry’s difficulties.
  • Thanks to the growth of eCommerce, companies spent a record $1.5 Trillion on shipping costs in 2017.
  • Spending on truck freight services surged nearly 25% and freight shipments grew 12.6% in 2017. (3)

John Kearney, CEO of leading designer and manufacturer of virtual simulators, Advanced Training Systems, says using new technology is critical to bridging the driver shortfall, specifically in terms of reaching younger drivers. His training will bring in a new breed of truckers—millennials.

He noted: “Part of the problem is generational; 25% of today’s drivers are 55 years of age or older. The industry needs to recruit younger drivers, and doing that will require the kind of high-tech, high-quality training that younger candidates expect.”

So what is the solution?: In combating the driver shortage problem, some companies are turning to virtual reality (VR) training to court younger drivers. Per Kearney, the growing use of simulator training as an adjunct to traditional behind-the-wheel (BTW) instruction can teach the proper response to events too rare or dangerous to be included in BTW instruction—for example, a steering tire blowout or an unexpected patch of black ice.

Reports also show that simulator training offers a cost-effectiveness perspective: one major trucking and logistics company reports a savings of $40/hr in fuel costs alone.

 

Category: Driver Stuff, General Update, News

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