Automated training for learner drivers

By Staff reporter | 18 Sep 2019 at 12:17hrs
CMED (Private) Limited has unveiled a mobile driver training simulator, modern technology aimed at enhancing efficiency for learner drivers through computerised and objective assessment, expected to match the Vehicle Inspectorate  Department (VID)'s electronic testing for provisional driver's licences.

The system, to be introduced as a syllabus in driver training, applies an advanced "virtual instructor" and student assessment system which generates a detailed assessment report about the performance of a learner driver.

The system is expected to go a long way in reducing road carnage which has become a thorn in the flesh of policymakers and road users. CMED flighted a tender in a Government Gazette published last Friday inviting bidders to supply the equipment.

"CMED (Private) Limited is inviting bidders for the supply and delivery of the following CMED 08/DOM/2019. Supply and delivery of Mobile Driver Training Simulator," said the notice published in a Government Gazette.

In an interview on Wednesday, CMED managing director Mr Davison Mhaka said the system, which will be implemented at the State entity's driving school arm, Easy Go, was consistent with the initial training for pilots before they fly aircraft. He said the system will officially be launched once the adjudication and award of successful bidders have been made.

"This will be a new phenomenon in Zimbabwe as no conventional driving school has used simulators in its programmes. However, the use of simulators is very common in developed countries such as Australia, China, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and United States of America. In some countries mentioned above, the simulators are being used to test learner drivers for competency tests," said Mr Mhaka.

Outlining its advantages, Mr Mhaka said the system exposed a learner to a wide variety of traffic situations, unlimited repetition of educational moments, computerised and objective assessment. "In a driving simulator, a learner's performance can be measured very accurately and objectively. In a practical learning environment one has to more or less rely on the driving instructor's 'clinical observations'," said Mr Mhaka.

He said simulator lessons will be subdivided into several modules such as vehicle control, intersections, and motorways.

"Each module consists of a number of lessons and is concluded with a test. Before each simulator lesson the learner is instructed by the simulator with text and illustrations, and during the lessons there is instruction and feedback from what is called a "virtual instructor". This is a computer voice that tells the learner what he must do and indicates how well he has done it. In this way the simulator lessons can be followed without a driving instructor actually being present," said Mr Mhaka.

On the benefits of the system, Mr Mhaka said training is more effective compared to traditional in car training, lessons developed in a way that teaches required behaviour, simulator skills are trained in a way that avoids overloading the student.

"The consequences of committing an error in a simulator are much less serious than in a real car. This result in more relaxed learning: people learn better when they are more relaxed and feel safe.

"The simulators jelly in well with technological developments at VID where learner drivers are being e-tested for Provisional Licences," said Mr Mhaka.



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