UPS is about to give its student delivery drivers a whole new training setup. Soon the shipping company will teach a new class how to navigate city streets and avoid hazards in a VR simulator using off-the-shelf HTC Vive headsets.
Currently, students at UPS' nine Integrad training facilities use touchscreen devices to learn the ropes, but they'll be switching to VR immersion learning in September. Only package delivery drivers will get to don virtual reality headsets at first, but the company is exploring VR and AR options for training its employees that handle tractor-trailers and other tasks.
VR work training is starting to catch on, thought it's still in early stages. To investigate its advantages, Google compared VR-trained baristas with those who'd been taught with manuals and found the headset-wearing trainees had the advantage -- though the simulated workplace didn't prepare them for the super-hot dangers of the real one. Other tech companies are looking at the next generation of VR work training, like HP's backpack rig, but if NASA can prepare astronauts for zero-G with an off-the-shelf headset, we'll probably start seeing more companies take the concept seriously.