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Triangle Companies Provide High-Tech Training Tool To Wake County Schools

Posted December 3, 2000

— Wake County school bus drivers will soon have a high-tech training tool.SAS InstituteandElumens Corporationare giving the school system a 3-D driving simulator, which will assess how drivers handle the stress of the job.

SAS originally developed itsProfilerinteractive software to train police and rescue personnel, but school bus drivers carry very precious cargo, so training them better can also benefit children.

"Obviously the more realism you can introduce into a training scenario, the more retention you're going to have," says Mike Odell, CEO of Elumens.

The system uses Elumens'VisionStation; a 180-degree projection screen that simulates driving a bus.

"This product does not teach an individual how to handle a vehicle. What it does is assess their ability to handle stress while driving," says Danny Wright of SAS.

Bill McNeal, superintendent of Wake County Schools, says the system will go into service soon.

"It'll give us an opportunity to do a profile of that driver," he says. "How does that driver handle decision making? How does that driver function under stress on the highway? This simulation will allows us to do that."

Profiler will be used for more interactive simulations; However, future development will be handled by Research Triangle Institute using SAS-developed Video Reality.

"We were telling them video reality would be a far more realistic medium to use, so they're very interested. They have a large number of contracts to do this type of work," says Dr. Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS Institute.

The simulator and Profiler program are worth about $20,000. Wake County Schools' transporation department hopes to have it installed by the end of December.


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