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Case Study

Bulldozing the Way

Virtual soil improves heavy machinery simulator training

In 2013, Canadian mining, construction and oil and gas industries employed over one million people in jobs that require a high level of training, many of whom need to know how to operate heavy machinery.

This link will take you to another Web site Serious Labs, an Edmonton-based company, specializes in simulators and e-learning technologies for training heavy machine operators. To provide trainees with the most realistic simulation possible, the company partnered with researchers from the University of Regina to develop computer models that accurately render soil. In the simulation, trainees sit in a console that recreates the cab of a bulldozer or a backhoe, and a screen in front of them shows a computer visualization of a worksite. Trainees operate the machinery, moving dirt from one location to another, practicing their skills in a virtual environment that emulates real world conditions.

“We see an opportunity to take research that has been funded by the Canadian taxpayer and apply it in a way that benefits the Canadian economy,” says Howard Hamilton, a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Regina. “So, one can imagine, if our research is useful, that a whole generation of people who are operating equipment – machinery, large machines – would benefit from improved training.”

This partnership is helping companies save money by cutting down on fuel costs to transport trainees to and from worksites and also reduces the risk of accidents and damage to equipment that can occur due to inexperienced operators.

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