Walter Reed Army Medical Center's Military Advanced Training Center now possesses a state-of-the-art driving simulator to help wounded servicemembers return to driving independence. This new capability allows patients to practice with adaptive driving equipment, gain confidence in their driving proficiency and apply mental skills training in a commonplace activity.
Walter Reed leadership launched the driving simulator at an official ceremony today in Joel Auditorium as part of Warrior Care Month.
The driving simulator adds a new dimension to Warrior Care and was a collaborative effort involving government and corporate partners to include the Army Center for Enhanced Performance (ACEP), America's Army, GM Mobility, General Motors Automotive Service Education Program at the Community College of Baltimore County, Bruno Independent Living Aids and other local businesses.
Physical and occupational therapists use the simulator as an assessment tool to identify possible deficit areas in driving of which Soldiers may be unaware. Issues addressed with the simulator include: vehicle entry and egress issues, driving with modifications and driving in civilian situations. Soldiers are able to go through driving scenarios that test their abilities in having to swerve from road debris, tailgating, quickly recognizing and reacting to common traffic signs and managing stresses associated with common driving situations.
"We are pleased to be able to launch this simulator during Warrior Care Month," said Col. Norvell Van Coots, commander, Walter Reed Health Care System. "Our wounded warriors will now be able to regain their driving skills, using one of the most advanced and realistic rehabilitation tools created to help our recovering servicemembers."
Using state-of-the-art America's Army technologies, the vehicle simulator developers created a realistic driving simulation that reacts to the driver and provides valuable feedback in a non-threatening and constructive manner enabling Warriors in Transition to learn to operate a vehicle safely. The simulator vehicle is a Chevrolet Colorado Extended Cab chassis and is equipped with: active steering, brakes, accelerator, Gear select and instrument panel; driver inputs tied to America's Army gaming software, a Bruno Orbit Seat for passenger side; Minox hand controls; adjustable seating height and an interior redesigned for easy cleaning and maintenance.
ACEP Performance Enhancement Specialists utilize the simulator to help Soldiers apply their mental skills training in a commonplace activity. ACEP education mixes educational best practices with applied sport psychology to train Soldiers to build confidence, control their attention, manage energy, set goals and integrate imagery.
More articles about America's Army