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Logistics training developer Transformotion has teamed up with developer anet360 to launch immersive, virtual reality (VR) Driver CPC training courses to train professional drivers from the safety of the classroom.

The joint venture, dubbed the Driver CPC Consortium, is offering two JAUPT approved courses with more to follow. First to launch is the VR Safe Urban Driving which allows HGV drivers, wearing VR headsets and using interactive app technology, to experience what it’s like to ride a bicycle in urban areas with a large vehicle close by.

The seven-hour course aims to give professional drivers the knowledge and skills needed to share the road safely with vulnerable road users. It includes five virtual reality experiences recorded in real-traffic, as well group activities and an interactive smartphone app for informal testing.

The consortium has also launched the Interactive Safe Motorway Driving course, which covers all aspects of driving on a motorway including hazard awareness, fuel efficiency, the impact of weather, continental driving and safety overnight.

Group exercises include testing different road signs in the Highway Code. There are also four virtual reality experiences and four drone recordings, taken in real-traffic as well as group activities for further discussion.

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The consortium is also planning to launch VR Safe Rural Driving, giving drivers the chance to experience what it’s like to ride a horse on country lanes with large vehicles navigating around them.

Trainers wishing to offer the courses must join the Driver CPC Consortium, which is open to in-house training instructors, driver training companies and freelance trainers. The basic membership package costs £1,999 plus vat.

Launching the courses this week, the company said: “Professional truck and bus drivers do not get the credit or appreciation they deserve. They struggle to find a clean, modern facility to stop and refresh. They deal with daily road rage and impatience from road users. And crucially, they often receive poor quality training because their finance director doesn’t see the point in spending more than the bare minimum.

“So when it comes to learning, these men and women find themselves staring at a screen, watching notes being read from a slide, listening to a dinosaur deliver tales from days gone by. Why? Surely they deserve a better experience than that?

“It’s why we’ve decided to do something about it. In our own small way we want to raise the standard of Driver CPC periodic training to a level that truly reflects the importance of our road transport key workers. Our hope is that by creating a better learning experience we can challenge others to do the same, and ultimately raise the standard of Driver CPC training.”

James Tillyer, transformation managing consultant, claims the consortium is offering the UK’s first Driver CPC immersive training course. He added: “It offers professional drivers a different experience to help retain knowledge through more effective, interactive training, delivered safely in a classroom environment."