Williams F1 and UK Transport Research Laboratory sign simulator-based driver training MOU
20 November 2011
Williams F1 and the UK Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) have signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on research regarding the application of advanced simulator-based driver training technologies. This will help to improve road safety, reduce vehicle emissions and increase passenger comfort and safety.
The MoU between Williams F1 and TRL will see the two companies collaborate on joint research, marketing and business development initiatives and use Williams F1’s simulator technology to help improve road safety, fuel efficiency and other aspects of driver behavior in Qatar and internationally.
Pioneered over the last decade for the advanced training of racing drivers, Williams F1’s simulator technology is now being developed for applications beyond the racetrack and, at the WTCQ, allows high-fidelity, advanced training to be conducted in a controlled environment. Using this approach has the benefit of “repetitiveness” to enable assessment and skills improvement to develop consistently. The partnership will use this technology to research, develop and validate driver training tools and the standards that govern the use of simulator technology for regular, commercial and emergency vehicles.
The cooperation will be led by the Williams Technology Centre, Qatar (WTCQ) and TRL’s Qatar Centre, both of which are located in the Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP).
TRL is a global transportation research and consultancy company with more than 75 years’ experience in its field and with expertise in the use of simulator technology to carry out research into driving behaviors and for conducting advanced driver training. TRL Ltd has a QSTP-Branch and is currently developing road transport processes and technologies to help realize Qatar’s vision of economic growth.
Great news! If it isn't already in the planning, they should add what I'd call a distraction endorsement.
This would be a rating of a driver's ability to deal with distractions such as passengers, children as passengers, telephones (hands-free or otherwise), navigation systems, eating food, personal grooming, changing radio stations, all of which have different levels of difficulty while driving.
Some people are true multi-taskers and could possibly do all those things simultaneously while driving without being a hazard to themselves or others. Most of us (like me) can't multi-task very well at all. Those that have such proven ability via such simulation, should be entitled to a top-rated endorsement while the rest of us might barely qualify to have adult passengers, let alone telephones while driving.
This would be a way to put some science to the subject of distracted driving, instead of what is otherwise a very emotional and subjective subject, as demonstrated by the US government's dismay over how traffic fatalities keep decreasing as highway speeds increase and as driver's are increasingly distracted by vehicle gadgetry.
I can hear the looming argument... but are simulators a good judge of critical skills? It seems to work for airline pilots pretty well.
Posted by: Tom | 20 November 2011 at 10:11 AM
Very well stated, Tom.
In some states in the U.S. you can get a driver's license by only taking a written test. In an ideal world, simulators would be at every Dept of Motor vehicles office, and you would have to demonstrate your ability to drive.
Posted by: danm | 21 November 2011 at 09:53 AM