Delaware Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt, and Lauren Skiver, chief executive officer of Delaware Transit Corp., got behind the wheel to demonstrate DART’s new virtual bus simulator.
The simulator is a true-to-life virtual world driving environment pre-loaded with urban, suburban, rural and other scenarios that will be used for new operator training, operator refresher training, and commercial driver’s license (CDL) training. The simulator measures the ability to quickly make decisions based on visual input; detect and identify obstacles/hazards in and along the roadway; detect motion and judge depth and distance accurately; and much more.
DART’s training specialists are currently receiving certification in order to conduct the various operator training courses. The training emphasizes judgment and proper driving tactics to enhance safe driving and timeliness by operators. Because it simulates realistic traffic conditions without the risk of driving an actual vehicle, it’s expected to reduce collision rates and associated costs.
“We are fortunate to have such a state-of-the-art training tool for our new and veteran Operators. Having the virtual simulator will improve safety, which is paramount to DTC. By training on the simulator, new operators will feel more comfortable transitioning to an actual bus reducing the risk of driver error,” said Skiver. “And, it was fun to get behind the wheel.”
The cost of the virtual bus simulator was approximately $206,000. It was purchased through a combination of American Recovery and Reinvestment ACT (ARRA) and Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) funds; both Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants.