As we move into 2020 the world of transportation is changing. Big issues like insurance and driver qualifications are top of mind and the driver shortage increases in the distance. The transportation industry has generally been an industry that is behind the times in many ways due to the large expense of equipment and changing of regulations. Technology has forced the transportation industry into a new age and it is now surpassing the average advancements of many industries. For instance our technology advancements to date have been primarily in the areas of safety and fuel efficiencies with better braking systems, hours of service technology, and increased fuel mileage systems. As we moved out of 2017 and into a new decade we have focused on driver technology such as driver-less trucks which has been driven from the driver shortage. We now find ourselves with technology that is ahead of our infrastructure and regulations. What does that mean for you as a school?
Driver-less trucks are still a long way from being standard in our industry so from a training standpoint I don’t believe you have to worry about not having students but that doesn’t mean technology isn’t important to your training program. Much like airplane pilots truck drivers will require retraining whether they are driving trucks or some sort of spaceship. As our industry focuses more on technology to move goods around the Country training programs will be expected to be technologically savy as well.
Imagine showing a new student a new truck with all of the computer and automated systems for the future. There eyes well up with excitement of steering this impressive machine down the road as they wonder how they will ever learn how to drive the truck. You tell them you can train them and take them into your training facility and sit them down at a desk. You open a book and tell them to read chapter one while you open up an old PowerPoint you have been using for years and begin to talk about how the truck works. What do you think that student will be thinking? Will they feel confident in the training?
As our trucks and industry become more sophisticated our training needs to match the same level of technology. Now imagine that same scenario with the same student but instead of a presentation and a book you have them slide on head phones and handsets. The student is now virtually transmitted into a virtual truck the same model as the one you showed them in the parking lot. The student is amazed that they can flick a switch marked afterburners and feel the power of the machine. The virtual seat hugs them as they begin to drive the truck in a virtual world. A robotic voice talks them through the next navigation and they look to the passenger seat to see you sitting right beside them. The transformation is instant. Will that student have confidence in your training now?
It may be a while down the road before every training centre has virtual capabilities but I think we can all agree that is the way the training industry is going. Knowing what technology is available and how it can be adapted to your facility should be something every training provider is keeping up with to make their facility as technologically savy as possible. If you haven’t thought about how technology applies to your classroom then attending the TTSAO (Truck Training School Association of Ontario) 5th Annual Conference should be your next step. There will be a technology panel discussing options available with experts able to answer those questions. You can learn more about the panel here.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com