x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Simulator helps train Dubai bus drivers

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said the simulator was available for the use of bus driving instructors and existing drivers.

Kenisha Nathani, a 10-year-old Indian girl tries driving the F1 simulator, at X xtreme Simulation. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Kenisha Nathani, a 10-year-old Indian girl tries driving the F1 simulator, at X xtreme Simulation. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

DUBAI // Transport bosses have introduced a simulator for bus drivers that experts say could help reduce accidents and improve fuel efficiency.

The Roads and Transport Authority, RTA, said the simulator was available for the use of bus driving instructors and existing drivers.

“The device can be adjusted to simulate various driving elements in real-world scenarios, especially emergency cases such as windy conditions, brake failure or tyre puncture, besides training them on how to handle foggy and rainy conditions,” said Mohammed Al Janahi, director of drivers’ affairs at the RTA’s Public Transport Agency.

“The new driving simulator enables driving instructors at Drivers Affairs Department to quickly develop various lifelike on-road scenarios for drivers, and trains them on how to reduce fuel consumption as well. It is believed that it will also have a significant impact on reducing accident rates.”

Mr Al Janahi said the simulators would be in use in the near future.

Britta Lang, principal safety scientist at the Transport Research Laboratory in Abu Dhabi, said it was the first time she had encountered a bus driver simulator in the region.

“Normally simulators are in use mostly for truck drivers, or at driving schools across the country,” she said.

Ms Lang added that simulators could be used to train drivers on how to deal with specific scenarios that would not normally be encountered on the road.

“There’s a good case to be made that it could replace basic training on the road, for specific situations,” she said.

“Normally, for specific hazards like fog, rain, or emergency breaking, it’s difficult to train that on the road. In simulators, these scenarios are programmed, so can be used to train on over and over again.”

Ms Lang said another common use of simulators was in training fuel efficient driving habits. The Transport Research Laboratory has carried out this form of simulator training on behalf of one delivery company, which helped reduce the firm’s fuel costs by 10 per cent across its fleet of lorries.

Mr Al Janahi said the upgrade to the training network was about meeting international standards.

“The Drivers Affairs Department attaches great importance to offering appropriate training exposure to public bus drivers in Dubai at world-class standards, besides upgrading their technical and scientific skills and enhancing their capabilities and performance level so that they can efficiently carry out the tasks and responsibilities entrusted to them,” he said.

mcroucher@thenational.ae