August 15, 2017 2:45 PM, EDT

UPS Will Use VR Headsets for Training

UPS Inc. announced Aug. 15 that it will incorporate virtual reality headsets into lessons for student delivery drivers this September.

Students at nine UPS Integrad training facilities will don the headsets, which mimic city streets, to practice identifying road hazards. The virtual reality modules, designed by UPS’ information technology team, include details such as pedestrians, parked cars and oncoming traffic. Students must verbally identify these elements when they are assessed.

“Virtual reality offers a big technological leap in the realm of driver safety training,” said Juan Perez, UPS chief information and engineering officer. “VR creates a hyper-realistic streetscape that will dazzle even the youngest of our drivers whose previous exposure to the technology was through video games.”

The virtual reality training will apply to students learning to drive package delivery trucks, although UPS may extend the technology to those training to be tractor-trailer drivers.

UPS has 10 Integrad facilities, eight of which are in the United States. The Integrad facilities, constructed with the aid of an $1.8 million U.S. Department of Labor grant, currently use touchscreen devices for road hazard lessons.

“This training is foundational, and virtual reality brings it to life,” said Jeanne Lawrence, UPS Integrad expansion director. “VR complements real-world training in a way that deeply engages our employees in the UPS Integrad curriculum.”

UPS ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics list of the Top 100 for-hire carriers in North America.