RHA’s mobile truck simulator

The RHA’s new mobile truck simulator has been introduced and was a major draw during this year’s National Lorry Week . Fitted into a bespoke Sprinter body produced by Maxi-Low (see August’s Roadway) the new vehicle has been developed to take driver training direct to where it is needed, supporting members with driving assessments, and as a means to help them in a controlled environment train drivers in basic manoeuvres and reduce the need for yard training.

The simulator says the RHA is also an excellent starting point to driver training, presents minimum risk, and will allow the Association to reach out to schools and colleges as a way of attracting students who are thinking of a career in transport.

The simulator itself weighs 190kg and consists of three screens and a seat with a motion platform. To power it and make the vehicle independent of the need for any exterior supply power during outdoor events such as Truckfest, a standalone power system has been fitted by Associate member Owlvue, who are based near Bridgend.

Paul Allera, RHA Technical Director describes the new vehicle as dual purpose, “When it’s not being used for the simulator it can be used for events and hospitality. Van can house a fridge, the van has an awning fitted to the left hand side – with a side door on the left hand side. There are two seating areas, left and right hand.” The simulator is situated in the centre of the van, next to the side door for easy access, facing front.

The choice of Owlvue says Allera, “is because they are certified for the fitting – so they could do everything. Whereas other companies I spoke to could do parts of the fit-out They could do the electric system for the van and the 12 volt, but we couldn’t do the 240 volt system. Mark Hingston came along from Owlvue and said, ‘we can do everything’.

The idea of the standalone power system says Allera was there from the beginning, “The brief that I gave Mark was that I wanted the van to be self-sufficient wherever we can, when there’s no power

where we’re going, and that’s what we’ve got. He’s ticked the box on everything. And again I know everything is right because these guys, through what they do day in and day out in fitting out Direct Vision Standard equipment to vehicles, is that they’re certified to do all this. You’ll get the certification that says that all the equipment is E-Marked and correct and the certification that Mark who has done the fitting-out is certified as an engineer technician to do that job. That’s the biggest thing because without that certification you could leave yourself open to a fine if you get stopped at the side of the road.”

Mark Hingston, Project Manager, Owlvue Ltd describes the technical details of RHA simulator van power conversion: “There is a massive 6KWH Auxiliary Lithium Battery to supply enough energy to power the simulator, while a 50 Amp DC/DC charger will supply energy whilst the vehicle is travelling. A state-of-the-art 3000 watt inverter charger will supply energy to an auxiliary battery whilst mains shoreline is connected. This will also supply direct 240v to sockets when mains shoreline is connected. This will automatically switch over seamlessly to the auxiliary battery supply when shoreline is disconnected. Used energy will be topped up by way of a 200 Watt roof mounted solar panel. Two mains outlet socket with built-in USB have been installed to allow power for simulator. A touch screen display allows the user to keep a keen eye on the vehicle status while in use. A webasto diesel heater was installed to keep conditions comfortable during the winter months. Two bespoke bench type seats have been installed on either side to make way for comfort whilst customers are waiting. Another bespoke unit was commissioned to accommodate and electric fridge. Four surface mount lashing eyes have been let into the floor to allow the safe transport of the simulator. The addition of 3 roof mounted LED lights provides adequate lighting.