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Using Virtual Reality technology to enhance training and improve safety for the Dubai Tram

In 2019, we created a new Virtual Reality (VR) training solution for our Dubai Tram drivers in order to provide an enhanced training experience and improve network safety.

Building on a project in which every incident since Tram operations commenced in 2014 was analysed and key risks were identified, we captured footage from key locations across the tram network to develop an immersive and interactive simulated learning experience using VR technology.

Route knowledge management – including awareness of network hazards, blind spots, reduced speed zones – and risk-based commentary – which supports dynamic hazard awareness and monitoring – are critical competencies for our drivers. By supplementing traditional training methods with the opportunity to practice in a safe and controlled environment, we are helping our drivers to increase their competency and confidence before they continue their training out on the network. Better prepared Trainee Drivers are less likely to be involved in an incident during practical training. In addition, with the VR solution the trainer can see what the trainee is experiencing, enabling more accurate evaluation of trainee competence and identification of specific areas for improvement.

As well as supporting trainee drivers in their transition from classroom-based theoretical training and in-cab practical simulation, the VR training also helps staff returning from extended periods of leave to refamiliarise themselves with the network and learn about any changes made during their absence.

Following our research and development of the in-house VR solution, it has been trialled and well-received by our Tram Drivers. We are now integrating the VR training solution into all training courses for our tram drivers and exploring opportunities to apply the technology for other purposes, such as risk assessments and incident investigations, and other transport systems, such as the Dubai Metro.