The Volkswagen Group (UK) has turned to virtual reality technology to spice up training programmes for its 300 UK dealers.
Volkswagen has chosen Superscape's VRT PC-based virtual reality software for the project, which initially involves the development of a technical assessment test and a virtual library of documentation and manuals.
The assessment test has been devised for experienced engineers who have existing electrical skills but may not necessarily have worked on Volkswagen cars. It consists of two main parts: a control interface which allows users to select tools, choose replacement parts, perform project management and change views; and a virtual viewing area which enables users to navigate around the vehicle, select appropriate areas, view detailed photographs (within the virtual world) manipulate probes for testing points and put replacement parts in place.
Once completed, the technical assessment program will test not only the technician's knowledge but also their theoretical fault diagnostic skills.
Actions taken by users are logged automatically by the system to provide a detailed report for future assessment.
Cliff Webb, training development manager at Volkswagen, said: "We believe that the virtual reality program will provide us with better feedback, a higher quality training environment and, hopefully, an improved pass rate compared with traditional teaching techniques and the more usual computer-based training approach.
"We have used multimedia as a training tool for about 18 months. We are now faced with the challenge of introducing new systems for the dealers, some of whom have become blase about multimedia."
Superscape is developing the programs in conjunction with the Automobile Association (AA), which is providing the electrical information and procedures for finding and fixing faults.
Volkswagen hopes all its dealers will be using the VRT training programme by the end of the year.
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