A new HS2 augmented reality training programme has been launched for future staff members at the UK’s forthcoming Old Oak Common station.
HS2 Ltd, which is in charge of the development of the HS2 high speed rail project, has partnered with the National College for High Speed Rail; immersive technology firm PAULEY; and innovation management consultancy Inventya to deliver HS2 augmented reality training to prepare staff for the intricacies of working at a station which is not yet fully constructed.
Mike Luddy, Stations Director at HS2 Ltd, said: “From its earliest days Old Oak Common will be one of the UK’s busiest and best-connected stations. Serving both HS2 and the Elizabeth line (Crossrail), it is designed to handle around 275,000 passengers every day. To accommodate that number of people in a pleasant, safe and efficient environment, it’s crucial that staff know the station’s workings in detail. The challenge is that Old Oak Common station hasn’t been built yet; so to train the station’s entirely new workforce with the skills and knowledge they will need we must innovate. Through this project, which is supported by Innovate UK and the DfT [Department for Transport], we’re harnessing the power of digital technology to build Old Oak Common in augmented reality.”
The HS2 augmented reality project is geared towards training staff in customer service; as well as enabling them to become familiarised with maintenance and safety protocols before the station opens. The station’s designers expect to elicit feedback from staff who have undergone the training in order to address any prevailing issues while the station is being built, rather than needing to make inconvenient and costly changes later on.
Philip Pauley, founder and Managing Director of PAULEY, said: “We’re only starting to harness the power of augmented reality. Few people really get what it is and what it can do. The way you might want to think about it is like that famous Star Wars scene where R2-D2 projects a 3D image of Princess Leia. That’s what AR is, except for now it’s with the addition of a high tech visor through which to see it. The technology we’re bringing to HS2 enables the wearer to see Old Oak Common station in minute detail. It unlocks huge opportunities to explore, test and refine a digital replica of the station years before the passengers arrive.”