With VR, AR, and artificial intelligence, mechanics can train on engines without the truck in the room.  -  Photo: Vizitech/Work Truck

With VR, AR, and artificial intelligence, mechanics can train on engines without the truck in the room.

Photo: Vizitech/Work Truck

What if you can train your fleet mechanics on the trucks in your fleet with only a headset and set of controllers?

They can practice with the engine, learn every part, and how to fix any problem without the actual truck in sight.

And if the fleet adds a new type of truck or electric truck, the mechanics can continue to learn how to work on it.

Does it seem too good to be true?

This is the future of fleet maintenance. And Vizitech USA is helping that future become a reality.

Work Truck spoke with Stewart Rodeheaver, founder, president, and CEO of Vizitech, and Barry Smallwood, director, first responder/law enforcement programs, on how virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology will shape the fleet industry.

Learning Hands-On Maintenance Through VR

Vizitech USA uses AR and VR to create digital education and specialized training programs. The company works in education, commercial, and government sectors and can create specialized programs on just about anything with its VR and AR technology.

As a retired U.S. Army Brigadier General, Rodeheaver started the company to train young military recruits using interactive learning.

He discovered that with AR, VR, and 3D technology, he could create interactive learning methods for recruiting and training.

According to Vizitech, “Using these highly focused platforms increased training effectiveness, reduced time on task, and dramatically reduced the time and costs needed to establish new skills in our students, greatly improved training outcomes.”

And recently, Vizitech has dived into the fleet industry, starting with technical colleges. The company’s maintenance programs are utilized in 39 of the 40 technical colleges in Georgia and more in other states.

“We’re adding more and more all the time. We’re focusing more on heavier equipment like tractor-trailer trucks as well as more electric vehicles training,” said Rodeheaver.I

And not only can Vizitech’s programs be used for colleges, but the company is working on programs for commercial fleets and mechanics. The fleet industry is constantly evolving. More fleets are diving into EVs or alt-fueled vehicles. It’s vital to keep mechanics up to date on how to maintain green fleets.

Top 3 Benefits of XR for Fleet Maintenance

Gone are the days of a group of people standing over one engine, trying to get a good view of how it works, or just looking at a diagram on a projector. Current mechanics can “teleport” into the same room as a truck and have an immersive learning experience.

This is also called immersive learning and extended reality (XR) training. With XR, employees can practice their skills whenever and wherever.

There are three main benefits to using XR for fleet maintenance: you don’t need a truck, it’s customizable, and it saves fleets money.

Benefit No. 1 — Train Anywhere

No truck, no trainer, no problem.

If your fleet is adding new electric trucks, how do you train your staff on them, especially when most of them only know about gas engines?

With XR, mechanics can learn the ins and outs of a new electric truck before the truck even arrives at the bay.

And the best part is that the trainer doesn’t have to be in the same state as the mechanics. Fleet managers can provide the best trainers for their mechanics from anywhere in the world.

Fleet managers can also view the real-time progress of their mechanics. According to Rodeheaver, “Fleet managers don’t have to be in a bay or inside the vehicle. Everything can happen at their desk. They can gauge the knowledge of their staff on their system.”

This also builds a stronger level of safety for the fleet. Employees are less likely to get injured while training on a new truck.

Benefit No. 2 — Customized Programs

What is artificial intelligence (AI)?
AI is a field of computer science that focuses on the development of intelligent machines that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as learning, reasoning, problem-solving, perception, and natural language processing.

With AR, VR, and artificial intelligence, fleet managers can get specialized programs for their fleets.

Not only the type of truck and engine but also preventative maintenance.

“Most of our programs have VR and artificial intelligence mixed into the programs. So the ability to forecast maintenance is becoming more of a reality — such as when engines are going to fail, or when trucks will stop running properly,” said Rodeheaver.

The programs analyze info such as miles driven, inspection reports, and more and can provide forecasts of what maintenance will be needed on the trucks and when it is required.  

“The analytical artificial intelligence program gives us the ability to forecast future problems and future successes for the fleet managers,” Rodeheaver added.

Benefit No. 3 — Save Money

One of the best benefits of XR for training fleet employees is that programs can be used multiple times — allowing you to save money.

Fleet managers can have designated programs for onboarding new employees or cross-training current ones that they can continue to use again and again in a safe environment.

According to Vizitech, the advantages of XR programs can add up to a $20 ROI on every dollar invested in XR training.

Rodeheaver concluded, “Developing a program can capture the senior knowledge of your most qualified employees and transfer it to new and current employees. It also builds consistency by having all employees trained by one program and trainer.”

2023 Transportation Outlook: Invest in Tech & Drivers

Technology is constantly improving all aspects of our life. Interested to see how technology has improved in the fleet mainteance space? Work Truck has you covered with the top maintenance technology trends.

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About the author
Hillary Weiss

Hillary Weiss

Senior Editor

Hillary Weiss is a former senior editor at Bobit. She has a decade of digital publishing experience and a passion for all things related to fleets.

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