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Virtual Reality to increase awareness on difficulties of truck driving

The City of Greater Bendigo, in Victoria, Australia, has selected Deakin University’s CADET Virtual Reality (VR) Lab to create a new awareness campaign for young drivers.

According to a recent press release, the #GetTruckWise campaign is aimed at young drivers and their behaviour around trucks.

The University’s CADET VR Lab was selected for ‘its expertise in creating immersive and engaging experiences after a competitive tender process’.

As reported, the University is leading the education and innovation sector in creating immersive and engaging experiences.

The university’s Virtual Reality laboratory and 360 degree video will develop real-life scenarios to educate young drivers and improve hazard awareness in their encounters with heavy vehicles.

The Director of the VR Lab and Associate Professor from the University’s School of Engineering described it as a very exciting project where in Virtual Reality and 360 degree video can be used to their full advantage in order to help immerse young drivers in virtually replicated real-life scenarios.

#GetTruckWise

During the proposed roadshows, participants will wear headsets to enter virtual scenarios designed to provide a real sense of what it is like from a truck driver’s point of view.

They will experience challenges such as manoeuvring a long vehicle and dealing with blind spots. However, this is not a training video for young drivers.

The aim is for participants to understand the challenges that heavy vehicle drivers face, with the hope that this contributes to changing the way they interact with heavy vehicles on the roads.

It will help the young drivers gain more empathy about sharing road safety and not taking risks.

Understanding important safety tips like a truck’s blind spots as well as allowing extra distance for a heavy vehicle to brake and the space needed to turn can reduce the risk for all road users.

Who are involved?

Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke explained that road safety was also the biggest concern among truck drivers and operators who participated in the City’s 2017 Bendigo Freight Study: How goods are moved around Greater Bendigo.

The City is leading the campaign in partnership with the Transport Accident Commission and the Bendigo Tech School.

A number of local freight operators have also come on board to offer access to their vehicles and contribute to real-life experiences for the campaign.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) provided AU$ 250,000 in funding, under the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative, supported by the Commonwealth Government.

A strong social media campaign is an important aspect of the project and an online educational hub will be accessible at a national level once the pilot has been completed. The campaign will be launched next year.

Other projects

The #GetTruckWise campaign is not the first project with a focus on driver safety the CADET VR Lab team has worked on.

The CADET VR Lab team also collaborated with an aged care provider to develop ‘Hector VR’, a mixed reality driving simulator for older drivers.

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