Volvo Trucks empowers technicians around the world to learn about electric trucks in Virtual Reality.
Senior business developer
Long before the pandemic hit, Volvo Trucks decided they wanted to keep up with the United Nations’ sustainability goals, and at the same time minimize the need for costly on-site training-workshops for onboarding and training of their 20 000+ service technicians. As the launch of the new electric truck model came closer, and the pandemic hit, they needed to make sure the training experience would have a positive and real impact for the users.
Volvo Trucks decided to supplement traditional on-site training with a virtual learning space. This particular virtual learning space is designed for technicians and responsible trainers for each market to learn about the new electric truck model. Virtual Reality minimizes the need for travelling and is a safe way for the technicians to train on new trucks, such as the electric truck that carries with it the risk of high voltage.
By using VR instead of video tutorials, the technicians learn by doing. Volvo Trucks wanted to make sure this was an experience rather than a tool, and we helped them by creating a realistic multi-user VR world where colleagues could interact with each other, regardless of location or time zone.Business and technology consulting Enhanced Reality Centre of Excellence
Volvo Trucks are one of the largest medium to heavy-duty truck brands in the world. Their vehicles are sold and serviced in more than 130 countries all over the world. The launch of the new electric truck is the strategic initiative of Volvo Trucks. Throughout their entire organization, they focus on their core values: Quality, Safety and Environmental Care.
Reducing the need for travelling reduces the C02 emissions and provides a social and sustainable way for technicians to learn, without having to conduct lengthy travels to attend a training session.
Anyone can join in on the sessions, anytime, and in a safe and social way. It’s a lot easier to deliver a VR headset than a fully loaded truck to conduct training on.
In VR it is possible to work on expensive parts without the risk of breaking truck equipment in real life. The technicians can also learn about new components not yet on the market.
“New technologies are pointless, if not used to enhance what it means to be human”, says Gustaf Björn, who has been a part of the management team leading the talented full-stack team with specialists and 3D artists that created the training experiences for Volvo Trucks.
Volvo Trucks has experience with immersive tech since before the pandemic, as they saw that they could cut unnecessary pains for the employees, such as travelling. However, the point of travelling and meeting other people is to meet other people, a human need that still needs to be served. “Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that people need to spend time with each other in real life. However, those of us that do (or did, rather) travel regularly to attend training sessions, know that this can be a pain, and our carbon footprints aren’t getting any smaller the more flights we take”, says Gustaf.
We have been working with VR area for some time, we are not newcomers, but finally, the pieces are coming together. In the Volvo organization, we have never seen so much interest in a learning environment as to this one. We can see it being used as a tool also for a bigger and wider user group and audience in the future, the potential is huge.
Manager of Technical Training, Volvo Trucks
“The VR-solution means that you’re giving the employees some of the good parts of meeting up whilst minimizing the mundanity of regular e-learning sessions, saving time, money and becoming more sustainable as a bonus. The virtual world is built just like the real truck, and when the employees immerse themselves into that world, they learn how to maintain the new trucks quicker and more reliably. And most importantly, it’s more fun to learn this way.” This VR-solution is well aligned with Volvo Trucks’ sustainability goals, in terms of a decrease in travel.
The launch of the new electric truck is the strategic initiative of Volvo Trucks. (photo source: Volvo Trucks)
One of the greatest findings has been seeing the feeling of belonging and community, which has been made possible by VR.
“We’re in the final stages of creating an environment where everyone joins in on a session with their avatar, meaning an employee in Sweden will be able to point out something to a colleague on the other side of the world, all in real-time. The psychological effect of being able to share physical (or in this case, virtual) space cannot be underestimated”, continues Gustaf.
We needed to place a clock on the virtual wall, as when being in the virtual space together, you easily lose the track of time.
Process and Tools manager at Volvo Trucks
Emerging technologies invite us all to rethink our ways of working. Volvo Trucks and the City of Helsingborg are brave forerunners seeking digital advantages.
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