New Simulator Changing The Trucking Industry

Driving down the interstate, you’ve probably passed a semi truck or two. Learning to drive a big rig can be challenging and even dangerous, especially for first time drivers.
That’s why Mitchell Technical Institute invest in some new technology that lets students hit the road… indoors.

“Go ahead and put it in gear.”

Freshman at Mitchell Tech, Michael Smith is one of few getting behind the wheel of a new L3 Driver Simulator.

“It just makes you understand what’s going on around you better before you get out there and do it for real,” he said after doing a simulated drive such as driving through a city, snow or what happens if you hit a car.

“Going that fast with that much weight it was hard to stop that fast,” Smith said. “I mean it’s something that could happen in real life too. But I’m glad it happened on here and not on the road.”

And while the students are driving, the computers are busy analyzing.

Veteran driver, now instructor Chad Rogers couldn’t believe how many things  were analyzed, “There are three hundred different things that this simulator measures and will give us feedback on.”

Like is the driver successfully changing gears or are they grinding or are they following the speed limit or speeding, “So it tells me that they’re a bit more of an aggressive driver.”

All in real time.

“All of the students say ‘oh now I know’, ‘I forget to do this in my car’, ‘I always pull to the right in my car, now I know why’ or ‘oh, I forgot to use my turn signal’ so it just makes them more aware and safer drivers,” said Beth Schneider, another veteran driver and now instructor at Mitchell Tech.
Which is taking them from simply being good and safe drivers

“We’re making smooth drivers that accelerate, shift and brake smoothly and turn out to be better and more considerate and more professional drivers,” says Chad Rogers.

And it’s seen in a matter of minutes.

“You saw when you’re in it, there’s vehicles coming at you, there’s vehicles behind you, there’s vehicles just everywhere, there’s dogs going across the road,” said Beth Schneider. “And so fifteen minutes in the simulator is like an hour on the road.”

The two simulators cost a total of $300,000 and was made possible through a federal grant Mitchell Tech received. Chad Rogers says that the technology is so state of the art, the only thing they can’t recreate is gravity.

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