- At UPS' student training centers — known as Integrad — the company is employing virtual reality (VR) headsets to help educate future drivers on road hazards, ZD Net reported.
- The UPS technology team chose to outfit their training modules using HTC Vive and other headsets. Students must verbally identify road hazards in a 360-degree display to pass a portion of training. VR is replacing touchscreen devices previously in place at Integrad to teach potential drivers about road hazards. VR training is currently available to package delivery drivers, thought the company intends to expand its use to tractor trailer workers.
- Integrad works with MIT and Virginia Tech and features a replica outdoor city. UPS has eight Integrad centers in the US and intends to open one more domestically as well as two in Europe.
The decision to begin implementing VR within its training centers indicates that while UPS is keen on employing new technologies to further their business goals, it also plans to retain human drivers for the foreseeable future. Rather than rely on automated delivery trucks only, the choice of VR-trained staff, both for common vans and eventually larger trailer trucks, indicates that the company is relying on a hybrid of advanced technology to educate its new drivers on potential real world dangers.
UPS is not the first 3PL to do implement forward-looking tech. At present, DHL is experimenting with a "Parcelcopter," drone, which will enable it to deliver in all weathers and all landscapes, no matter how extreme. It also intends to employ an "EffiBOT," capable of scanning a human which it then follows to assist with warehouse picking and load carrying.
By adding the two technology systems into its daily processes, DHL and UPS seek to out-perform other 3PLs in warehouse speed and productivity.