Virtual Reality

VR Training until Every Step of the Task Has Been Mastered
Frankfurt a. M. (GER), December 2017 - DB Systel is a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn (German Rail). In cooperation with "EVE" (Engaging Virtual Education), an internal DB Systel startup, members of the railway’s onboard service staff have developed a VR training application for the operation of lifting devices to assist disabled passengers board the trains. The boarding aid is a fixed component of the ICE 4, the railway’s newest high-speed intercity express trains, which are still in the development stage. Operating the lifting device involves numerous steps that have to be carried out in a specific sequence. With the aid of VR glasses, in a virtual ICE 4, employees can practice all of the movements required at their future workplace.

This is today’s training approach at DB. From 2018 onwards, VR operator training for the lifting device will become an integral part of the job preparation, and all 4,000 onboard attendants will have completed it by the end of the year. Software architect Martin Respondek comments, "Technical progress has benefited us: In the past year, VR systems have reached the consumer market. The hardware is affordable and much more powerful than previously. The VR software can now perfectly simulate 'learning by doing': It integrates the users’ movements into the virtual 3D world in real time. Learners thus perceive them as being natural, enabling them to concentrate on the task completely."

Respondek's EVE team hopes that in the future, every DB training center will be equipped with VR systems. Trainer apps and tablet programs, which learners can take home, will complement the VR applications, and more applications are being developed.

Respondek adds, "Railroad electronics technicians and mechanics have to be familiar with the trains’ air conditioning systems, but the controls for this equipment are located in ceiling of the railroad cars, which makes access to them difficult. To make it possible for people to learn in a real railroad car in a training facility would involve providing access platforms and turning off the electricity because the current flow couldn’t be shown. Virtual instruction would be the solution here - and could be a component of the training."

Martin Respondek will present Deutsche Bahn’s VR deployment at the LEARNTEC Convention on 30 January 2018 from 16.45 to 17:30. (in German)