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Using a digital twin simulation to train firefighters

1 Aug 2023Technology news
2 minute read

Firefighting is one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. Exposed to flames and carbon monoxide, firefighters often have to make life-or-death decisions in threatening scenarios.

Using digital tools, we’re experimenting with virtual firefighting training, which will allow these service men and women to practice dangerous situations without being exposed to them in real life.

No smoke, no fire

Taking place last week, Vodafone Germany tested this new technology with software development company Northdocks at a fire brigade in Linkenheim-Hochstetten in Baden-Wurttemberg, West Germany.

Wearing a virtual reality (VR) headset and a controller in each hand, participants could enter a computer-generated 3D environment.

VR Firefighter

Silas Fuchs, Project Manager at Northdocks, has set up various drills with different objectives in mind.

For example, one session is set up to practice extinguishing a wildfire. Setting the desired wind strength and direction, trainers can set up an authentic simulation and the burn area can be varied as required.

This is a great example of a situation that is otherwise hard to train for.

During drills, you can also attach the hand controllers to a real jet lance. This allows the firefighter to operate it in real life – while the scenario only exists in the computer.

Our network feels the heat

For this to work, the connectivity needs to be reliable and fast.

Using Vodafone’s 5G network, data is sent quickly with almost no delay. That means no motion sickness, a common side effect of jagged and delayed VR simulations, and a more realistic experience as things happen in near real-time – similar to what you would experience in reality.

In addition, our network can accommodate a large number of users without it impacting the network’s capacity.

The trial was organised by Vodafone Germany, in partnership with Northdocks.

Markus Wagner, Fire Brigade Commander of Linkenheim-Hochstetten, can see the benefit of such training but emphasises, “virtual reality is not intended to replace training at real locations, but should be considered to complement it.”

It could also be an important step as the industry tries to recruit young people into roles. More importantly it could save lives, offering a way to train firefighters on unprecedented events, like wildfires.

  • 5G
  • AR / VR
  • Digital enablement
  • Emergency response
  • Europe
  • Future of work
  • Health & Safety
  • Innovation
  • Technology
  • Germany

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