From Trucker World, March 2021— Traditional styles of learning and training–think sitting in a classroom with an instructor leading the discussion–have taken a back seat over the past year, opening the doors for more remote learning and training opportunities. While traditional learning and training models will likely stick around, advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are allowing for a more blended approach to truck driver training. Today, the average driver is 55 years old and male, with many approaching retirement.

According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), over the next decade, the industry will need to hire roughly 1.1 million new drivers, or an average of nearly 110,000 per year. Replacing retiring truck drivers will be the largest factor, accounting for 54% of new driver hires, ATA noted. The second largest factor will be industry growth, accounting for 25% of new driver hires.

During a recent press conference, John Kearney, founder and CEO of Advanced Training Systems (ATS), described how simulators can help train the next generation of truck drivers. ATS is a simulator technology and engineering firm that designs advanced training systems to improve training for truck drivers. Younger drivers coming up in the industry are aware of and have shown greater interest in using simulation in their training, Kearney explained. “If you introduce them to a classroom and a textbook, they probably will leave that company and not continue,” he added. “But if you introduce them to what we have today in the training field, then they are more likely to want to be a part of that process and grow in this industry.”

Kearney, who has spent more than 30 years in the driver training field, has brought simulation as a training tool to multiple schools throughout the U.S. “Part of the training with simulators is that you would learn to drive a real truck, but it would be after you learn to drive on a simulator,” Kearney said. “If you drive in a real truck, you have all sorts of costs for operating that vehicle and you also have the risk of having an accident.”

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Advanced Training Systems has revolutionized the design and manufacture of high-tech simulators to improve driver training and create both better drivers and a safer world. In addition to hundreds of driving schools, we provide equipment and support for major shippers who do their own training, as well as customized solutions for those with particular training needs. For more information or to schedule a demo, please contact us here.