Road simulator launch is a ‘honking’ success

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 20 Jun 2018

LEADING figures in the logistics industry have welcomed the latest phase of hi-tech training facilities to be unveiled at Modal in Immingham.

The past month has seen the truck simulator launch, a replica Mercedes cab in the midst of a gallery of screens covering all sight lines and mirrors.

It is housed within the large former Engie Fabricom base, a £7 million investment supported by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership in the key sector’s needs, for which owner Grimsby Institute has been celebrated. 

Lord Prescott was the guest of honour to officially open it, and he praised the foresight to build on the skills needs, adding road to maritime and crane simulators at the Middleplatt Road base. 

And the backing from business was clear too.

Chris Marshall, director at DSV Commercials, was at the launch. The South Killingholme firm operates a commercial vehicle and trailer workshop which provides maintenance and repairs of all makes of light to heavy commercial vehicles, including trailers, specialising in tankers.

Melanie Onn MP for Grimsby, tries her hand at driving the impressive HGV driving simulator, watched by Hugh Callaway, director of Modal Training.

He said: “As we all know there is a massive driver shortage, and what we have got to do is come up with something proactive, something that can be a solution for that. 

“You can walk off the street with a provisional licence in three days, and in three days more have a Certificate of Professional Competence.

“Here we see a full apprenticeship programme, a year learning the planning, warehousing, driving first from a simulator – it is a much more rounded and engaging provisions.

“People may say a simulator isn’t real, but look at how popular gaming is with young people – that’s what we are looking at. This is a platform.”

Read more: Award winning model: That’s Modal!

And he sees huge opportunities for existing drivers and their employers, too.

“The other significant thing is the driver metrics. Everyone can see improvement in skills, and hopefully with support modules, it continues. They have to do CPC, they may already be off the road, so why not do more?

“You can simulate all eventualities to avoid and reduce road incidents. Our ultimate goal then is for insurers to look at reducing premiums if we are keeping roads safer.

“For all these reasons I think it is an amazing programme. The best example is airline pilots. They have to use simulators. We all fly, we all put our faith in airline pilots, why should commercial vehicle drivers pulling 44 tonnes be any different? 

“It is a massive coup for us, it is excellent.” 

Such is the level of data, the simulator can feed off fuel use and driving style, while introducing a whole catalogue of scenarios, from weather to traffic and tricky routes.

Assessors can monitor all movements and see the driver, either from the passenger seat or the control bay, via camera. 

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