UPS uses Virtual Reality training modules to train student delivery drivers

Delivery giant UPS takes employee training very seriously. The company has announced it will start training student delivery drivers to spot and identify road hazards using Virtual Reality (VR) headsets that vividly simulate the experience of driving on city streets while teaching a more memorable classroom lesson.The company will begin launching VR training in September at its nine UPS Integrad training facilities. IT experts at UPS created the VR training modules that users see and hear inside VR headsets like the HTC Vive headset.

Students using the modules must verbally identify potential road hazards such as pedestrians, parked cars and oncoming traffic. The 360-degree view inside the headset is realistic down to the finest details.

“Virtual Reality offers a big technological leap in the realm of driver safety training,” said Juan Perez, UPS chief information and engineering officer. “VR creates a hyper-realistic streetscape that will dazzle even the youngest of our drivers whose previous exposure to the technology was through video games.”

The VR training modules replace the touchscreen devices UPS currently use to teach lessons on road hazards. For now, the VR training is only for those who drive package delivery trucks. But the company is exploring VR and even Augmented Reality (AR) for training tractor trailer drivers and performing other duties throughout the operation.

The program is very similar to Walmart’s VR training announced back in June 2017, where employees use an Oculus Rift to enter different real-world scenarios. Using VR for training is becoming increasingly popular and has been used in many fields including the crane industry.

UPS Integrad facilities teach students the fundamentals of driving delivery vehicles and delivering packages using a hands-on approach. Students even practice driving delivery trucks in a replica outdoor city that has real streets and sidewalks and simulated delivery and pickup sites. UPS has more than 9,000 drivers in its Circle of Honor, an elite group of drivers who have not had an avoidable accident in at least 25 years.