DIEPPE, N.B. - The Atlantic Institute of Logistics and Transportation (AILT), a centre specializing in training services, applied research, innovation and development in the fields of transportation,...
DIEPPE, N.B. – The Atlantic Institute of Logistics and Transportation (AILT), a centre specializing in training services, applied research, innovation and development in the fields of transportation, logistics and aerospace, has announced the intended construction of a driving simulator for the trucking industry in Atlantic Canada.
The creation of the AILT was initially proposed in 1996 by Gerald Perreault and Raymond Dufour, two transportation and logistics teachers from New Brunswick Community College.
Since then, the AILT has become a not-for-profit organization separate from the college, which supports Atlantic Canada-based businesses that offer or use transportation and/or logistics services in order to maintain competitiveness, to stimulate excellence and to promote growth.
Dufour, the AILT’s coordinator, says the centre’s mandate is not to duplicate another organization’s mandate in the Atlantic region.
“We’re not there to compete with existing training facilities. We’re there to work with them,” he said. “We try to bring various partners together.”
The AILT has been working on its current simulator project for a little over two years. Dufour said the organization realized that the technology to create the project was available; it was simply a matter of beginning the analysis.
In 2004, they began a training and preliminary literature review to see what technology already existed in Canada, the U.S. and abroad. From there a market analysis and a feasibility assessment for the Atlantic region was completed.
“We also put together an evaluation team consisting of current driver trainers in the Atlantic region,” Dufour said. “With these people, from three of the major carriers based in the Atlantic region and our project managers, we went to visit some of the manufacturers and assess the simulators we’d been looking at buying to make sure that we were buying the right tool.”
Since research and development has begun, the AILT has been talking to various organizations for possible partnerships, including the local trucking associations and the Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council (CTHRC) – all of which Dufour says have been very supportive.
“We’re looking at different options right now as far as where to purchase a simulator and which partners we’ll be involved with. What we have a stake in is the Atlantic region. We’re looking for the well-being of the Atlantic region, and first and foremost the supply of qualified truck drivers to the industry.”
Dufour says the simulator will have many advantages to training and certification, though he reminds that the AILT will leave the actual training up to the driving schools. The AILT will simply provide the tools needed and leave it up to the CTHRC to lobby with the province in order to come up with a uniform certification system. Beside training and certification, other possibilities for the simulator include driver assessment as well as ‘train the trainer’-type applications.
There are a number of different types of simulators available. The AILT is looking for a ‘fixed’ simulator (one that would stay in one place based on market demand) as well as portable ‘motion’ simulators. Regardless of numbers, Dufour says the technology will be top-of-the-line.
“We’re not looking at what we call ‘Nintendo’ type simulators,” he said. “We’re not looking at toys here. We’re looking at very high-calibre equipment. We want to make sure that as technology evolves, what we have will evolve with it.”
As far as project completion is concerned, the AILT has many goals in mind, but at this point the main issue is arranging for financing. Dufour said he hopes to have some solid financial backing in place and operations up by the spring or summer of next year.
“The moral support is there. Basically it’s going to come down to dollars and cents,” he said.