At legendary Silverstone a few days ago PlayStation partnered up with the Lincolnshire Police Force to offer supplementary training to their specialist police drivers using GT Sport, the latest game in the ultra-realistic Gran Turismo series. You can see the video of the day below.
The project saw officials from GT Academy, the virtual-to-real racing body that has been training world class racers for almost a decade, put police officers through a rigorous in-game regime to see if it could help improve their driving ability, which in turn could supplement the skills they have already obtained through traditional police training methods as part of their roles.
After clocking an initial lap time at Silverstone, the officers were coached using GT Sport – including an all-new VR mode – to develop their driving skills by highlighting and improving efficiency whilst playing the game. Any areas for improvement such as under or oversteer, braking late and carrying too much speed in corners were identified, with GT Sport used to demonstrate correct techniques and best practice to keep the car safe.
After training with the game the officers completed a second benchmark lap, with markedly improved results. The four police drivers shaved 14 seconds off their collective lap time with one officer improving by 5.7 seconds. Beyond speed all showed improvement in safety, stability, braking and steering after training with GT Sport.
Laurence Wiltshire, Project Director of GT Academy says: “GT Academy has proven that the skills learned via Gran Turismo directly transfer from the virtual track on to the real one. This is thanks to the incredibly accurate simulation of the tracks but more importantly the simulation of the cars, their physics and how they handle. PlayStation GT Sport is the best in the series history and, with the addition of VR mode, offers the most realistic driving simulation yet. It’s one thing to train racing drivers but the idea that a game could help officers respond to emergencies more efficiently is mind-blowing.”
Shaun West, Assistant Chief Constable, Lincolnshire Police commented: “There will never be a replacement for traditional training methods but we are always looking for innovative ways to supplement the learning of our officers and staff. If Gran Turismo can help to train world class racing drivers, then we were keen to explore whether it could offer anything to our officers and help expand the way we think about evolving and refreshing our training methods.
“It’s important to emphasise that exploring other methods such as this is not in any way seeking to substitute the rigorous training we already have in place but is simply another way to potentially bolster those existing programmes that our officers undertake.”
“Because road safety is of paramount importance in Lincolnshire we want to ensure our practices are as up-to-date and innovative as possible. Our F4tal 4 campaign focuses on the four main causes of injury and death on the roads: drink/drug driving, speeding, mobile phones and seatbelts. Anyone who chooses not to comply with the standards outlined in Fatal4, and is therefore putting themselves and other members of the public at risk, must do so within the realms of a game like GT Sport or on a racetrack like Silverstone. We don’t want that kind of driving on Lincolnshire’s roads.”
“Also, we’re really keen to progress our immersive learning and exploring this type of training fits that brief well. What more could we do to ensure our officers are trained to the highest standards while also accommodating the needs of a workforce that works varied hours, in a number of locations, and has different needs and expectations of respective roles? Taking technology like we have trialed in GT Sport, and the software that is in devices like our Mobile Data Terminals which, for example, may allow us to offer immersive learning in areas such as Child Sexual Exploitation, means we are exploring different ways to enhance and augment our traditional training methods. Ensuring we utilise the skills and learning of our officers and staff means they can only offer a better service to the people of Lincolnshire.
“For all of these reasons, not to mention the fact that this also offered us a chance to do something different, we were really pleased to work with PlayStation on this experience and found the results of this really interesting. It’s something we will certainly take away and think about and see if we can use any elements of it in the future to add on to our established training methods.”
PlayStation GT Sport is out now.