Toyota plans cooperative VR training for U.S. personnel
Toyota wants to reach more employees with VR training. The program is available throughout the U.S. dealer network.
Toyota's division for forklifts and similar commercial vehicles wants to train employees in virtual reality and supplement exercises with real equipment with additional virtual training. With 300 Meta Quest 2, the company aims to reach technicians and general employees in the Toyota Material Handling (TMH) dealer network in particular.
“While hands-on product training is our preferred method, we realize that not all of our dealerships have the luxury of product inventory, especially heavy-duty equipment. VR technology allows us to supplement existing training programs in an environment that’s accessible to our entire North American dealer network," says TMH's training manager Holly Brotzmann.
VR training with digital twins
So, especially in the sprawling United States, there were sometimes problems matching employees and vehicles for training. In the new program, employees wearing VR headsets meet in a virtual space. They can gather around a digital twin, for example. This is a virtual counterpart to a real machine on which trainees can examine or work on details.
They can also interact in real time with material handling equipment, including trucks, parts and tools from around the world. Initially, training programs will be limited to parts identification; later, more complex maintenance and repair processes are planned.
Cooperative practice with the Meta Quest 2
VR training development started for Oculus for Business. After Meta converted its own B2B solution to Quest for Business, a switch to the open OpenXR interface followed. So in the future, Toyota can also use standalone glasses from companies like HTC or Pico for training.
Reliable and easily modifiable training is especially important in industries with high safety needs, explains TMH's Instruction Designer Darin Cottle. More information on the VR training program is to follow on the Toyota Forklift blog.
Toyota joins Volkswagen in pushing VR training. VW's commercial vehicle division recently published a report on the benefits of VR training with a haptic glove.