Revolutionizing Railway Training: ADIF and Virtualware to launch virtual reality infrastructure simulator
Bilbao, Spain, December 26 , 2023.- ADIF, the Spanish public entity in charge of managing the national railway network, announces the imminent launch of a Railway Infrastructure Simulator (SIF) for training in maintenance operations. The SIF will allow students to carry out collaborative exercises that can be distributed geographically in ADIF’s classrooms.
The simulator is based on the VIROO virtual reality platform. It was developed by Virtualware (EPA: MLVIR), Europe’s leading virtual reality company.
The exercises simulate operations related to traffic safety and risk prevention, as well as the execution of work in specific technical areas of railway construction and maintenance, including: infrastructure and tracks, energy and electrification, or signaling and telecommunications.
Virtualware has meticulously modelled an extensive virtual railway network, covering more than 100 km and including up to ten different areas on conventional and high-speed lines. Ten different types of rolling stock and numerous stations and technical buildings are also included.
Thanks to the freedom of movement in the virtual railway world, the detailed simulation of the functioning of real railway systems allows the acquisition of multidisciplinary skills for all operational professions related to safety or railway engineering, as well as for structural and middle management staff or traffic and driving staff.
This ambitious project includes the following software components:
– Content Builder: A tool that helps virtual reality providers create educational content in Unity, including virtual reality (VR) pills.
– Exercise Builder: A web-based application that allows trainers to create and edit exercises combining VR Pills and various multimedia resources such as videos, images, text, etc.
– Session Manager: A web-based management module that provides a customised learning experience, allowing the assignment and scheduling of specific exercises per user and per room, and the monitoring of student progress.
The training sessions can be carried out on a variety of devices, from a simple desktop PC to virtual reality goggles, immersive cubes with projection or even full-scale virtual reality rooms.
One of the key elements of the project is the new 120 square metre immersive room, located at the Valencia Technology Training Centre. This will allow multi-user training sessions to be carried out on a real scale.
The first version of the railway infrastructure simulator will be launched in the summer of 2024. This will coincide with the classroom training of new recruits from the public employment service.
Between February and March, the simulator hardware and software will be deployed throughout the country. From April, teams of instructors from other national and regional centres of the ADIF Training Sub-Directorate will be trained..
Adif and Virtualware have been working together on this project since 2021. The aim is to define the standards and features of this new generation of railway simulators.
This hands-on, active learning method significantly increases the impact of training and accelerates knowledge transfer.
In addition, the comprehensive simulation of work processes and incident resolution avoids risks and the possible impact on railway operations.
The launch of this collaborative virtual reality simulator in distributed environments represents a technological breakthrough and a true revolution, which places ADIF as a leader in training innovation on the international railway scene.