WJETS approached BSD to develop a VR-based training solution that would reduce the cost of training new aerial work platform operators. They wanted to be able to take students onto the job site virtually and remove the need to travel with the actual hardware which costs a lot of money and is dangerous. They also wanted a way to do some basic aptitude assessments with the simulator before putting people on the actual machinery in their facility.
This project was made possible through a grant from the Canada Union Training and Innovation Program.
Western Jets was looking for a solution to improve their training process for aerial work platform machines, such as scissor lifts and skyjacks. BSD worked with the company to develop a custom solution that incorporates a VR simulation and a hardware controller to enhance the realism of the simulation.
Aerial Work Platform was developed using the Unity 3D game engine with the SteamVR plugin. Western Jets is using an HTC Vive with a Vive Wireless headset and Vive Tracker. The software is also compatible with the HTC Vive Pro lineup.
The controller hardware was designed with Open SCAD and Autodesk Fusion 360. The controller’s input/output functions are controlled by an Arduino Uno board.
This project forced us to learn a lot about physical product design, mapping digital controls to physical devices in XR using the trackers, and to create a robust control method for driving heavy equipment in XR.
On the software side, we also created a dynamic environment that has weather that can be triggered, the ability to assess students in the software. We also designed a modular asset packages that would allow us to create new levels rapidly for future expansion.
A software solution will only get you so far. To maximize the potential of a virtual reality training experience, a custom peripheral that matches the real-world machine is your best option. the Bit Space Lab is our hardware design division that handles projects like this.