A recent study found that driving simulators can be as effective in training truck drivers as a live teacher for tasks such as braking and shifting gears. https://www.ttnews.com/articles/study-identifies-benefits-driving-simulators-companion-cab-trainers

An award-winning paper on the study covers four 16-week training sessions of novice truck drivers, and focused on the segments on shifting non-synchronized gears and on straight-line and angle backing maneuvers. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

For the backing maneuvers, control groups that used teacher-led training but not the simulator were compared with those that used the simulator and a mirror program for 20% of their training, and a second group used the simulator and the mirror program in 50% of its training. The study found that the groups using the simulator were as proficient in straight-line backing and in 45-degree backing as the control groups, and all of the students took about the same amount of time to do the tasks.

For the gear-shifting study, students that used the simulator proved to be as proficient as the group that did only in-truck teacher-led training. In fact, the teacher-only students were slower to reach the proficiency levels of the simulator-trained students. "Shifting can be a stressful situation with an instructor watching. The simulator lets the student relax and pay better attention," said Pierro Hirsch, a co-author of the paper and a program developer for Virage Simulation, a Montreal-based provider of simulators.

When the learner's attention is fully engaged in the training scenario, the lessons transfer to the real world and are retained longer. Immersion is created by a combination of three sensory cues: visual, aural, and motion. The loss of one cue reduces the quality of immersion and training effects.

A state-of-the-art motion/vibration system is a standard feature of the Truck Simulator. The combination of motion and vibration cues enhances the immersive experience and improves the overall speed perception. The Simulator's motion system consists of a compact, three-axis platform with electric actuators that provide cues for vehicle acceleration and deceleration, road curvature and obstacles such as sidewalks and pot holes. Vehicle engine vibrations are simulated as a function of the RPM. Vibrations from the tires on the road surface changes as a function of the vehicle speed and road surface and are transmitted through the seat, steering wheel and the simulator platform. For manual transmission training applications, the driver feels the vibrations under his foot as he releases the clutch slowly to the friction point and feels the movement of the vehicle.