Armstrong’s to use simulators as part of truck driver training

Prominent truck driver training school Armstrong’s Driver Education is integrating simulation software into its training programs over the next six months.

Armstrong’s, which is based in Melbourne, has partnered with simulator company Motum to allow learners to hone their truck driving skills in a virtual environment.

While Motum CEO Steve Hoinville acknowledged that virtual driver training will never replace real-world experience in a truck, he said it offers a number of advantages.

“Armstrong’s will be embedding our Motum World technology into their core driver training program, while also maintaining their on-road training,” he told Big Rigs.

“Instead of learners wearing out clutches teaching basic manoeuvring, they will be doing an element of that in simulation.

“More importantly, we want to be able to expose the student to dangerous situations that we would hope they would never encounter in real life, but that they probably will at some point in their career.

“That way, they can learn from that experience in a risk-free environment.”

Hoinville said that with a driving school, learners are likely driving the same roads over and over again, but the Motum simulator can expose truckies to different conditions.

“Our simulator could allow them to practice driving on back roads or narrow country roads, in poor weather conditions or in heavy and unpredictable traffic,” he said.

Currently, Motum offers simulation training in a four-and-half-tonne van or a 65-tonne capacity mining truck, with rigid and articulated trucks in development.

“We have successfully modeled a MT65 mining truck for Alkane Mining in WA,” he said.

“When it’s empty, it weighs about 15 tonnes. When it’s full, it weighs closer to 90. The difference in dynamics between those two is substantial.

“We can easily model laden and unladen vehicles, as well as liquid laden vehicles.”

If a transport operator wanted a bespoke truck simulator developed, it could be turned around in approximately three weeks.

However, Motum clients will need to have reasonably deep pockets – a simulator unit will set you back $85,000 to $90,000, while the software and support package comes with an annual licence fee of $8,000 to $10,000.

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