We often hear about pilots using simulators to train before they actually fly. As of this year Growmark FS is using a simulator to train its sprayer operators.
This month the company invited reporters to its training center in Bloomington, Illinois and after a brief introduction invited them to take a spin in their brand new RoGator. Not a real one, but a simulator that seems pretty darned real even, says Growmark Equipment Manager Erik Wilcox, to those that drive the sprayer for a living.
Wilcox - I’ve had a lot of doubting Thomases come in and say, “this is just a video game and not anything worthwhile” and with each and every one of them I challenge them to just get on and give me the feedback. Every one of them, and I mean every one of them and that’s been about a dozen that have gotten on with me as an expert, have come off and said, “yeah, we are headed in the right direction.”
The simulator currently features road and field courses. It was created as a training module for FS System operators from Ontario to Cairo to practice, study, and enhance their ability, knowledge, and safety skills. That and to cut down on accidents.
Wilcox - We’d like to see the instance of insurance claims say running over crops, we’ll use that as an example, decrease over time as we use this. That is as we get into more row crop simulations. We’d also like to see a decrease in on the road accidents.
The most common of which by the way is for a car to run into the back of the sprayer when it goes to make a left hand turn.