- More than 35 van drivers from delivery firm Hermes Group participated in virtual reality (VR) training allowing them to see road use from the perspective of bikers and other drivers, Ford of Europe announced Nov. 28.
- The "WheelSwap" training, developed by Ford and London-based firm Happy Finish, is part of Ford's "Share the Road" initiative. The initiative aims to promote road safety and prevent collisions between cyclists and drivers, which are a common problem in European cities, Ford said.
- Drivers took the training at one of Hermes' London depot locations. According to Ford, 88% of participants agreed the training would encourage them to change their behavior.
Talent development executives operating in industries that involve vehicle use may not be aware of how eager their employees are to use VR. Research commissioned earlier in 2019 by customer experience platform Genesys found 81% of drivers and transportation providers surveyed were interested in VR and augmented reality training.
Hermes and Ford aren't the first to create such a use case, however. Staffing firm Hamilton-Ryker developed mobile VR forklifts to train employees in a "simulated work setting" that removed the costs and risks of training on real machines.
Another benefit of VR safety training is that it can improve retention of information, according to research published in September by The Human Factors Research Group at the University of Nottingham. Researchers in the study said workers who went through multisensory VR training showed a greater sense of urgency and greater long-term retention of information than those whose training involved only audio and video components.
VR as a training tool has entered the mainstream of learning and development in recent years in part due to adoption by large employers like Walmart. The retailer pledged to introduce the technology to all of its U.S. stores after an initial test showed a 10 to 15% increase in training test scores. A report from The Wall Street Journal revealed that Walmart has even tied VR skill assessments to promotions to mid-level manager positions.