Serious Labs Unveils Universal Motion Base for Virtual Reality Heavy Equipment Simulators

The versatile prototype can be used for safety training across seated machines and vehicles.

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Serious Labs, a supplier and creator of virtual reality (VR) solutions for training and operation of heavy equipment, unveiled its Universal Motion Base (UMB) for seated VR Heavy Equipment Simulators at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020. The UMB has been designed as the common foundation for the development of additional VR equipment simulators such as skid steers, dozers, excavators, backhoes, as well as for vehicles such as buses and trucks. 

The modular base platform allows Serious Labs to have conversations with "any number of equipment manufacturers or industry regulators whereby we could build training simulators, no matter what industry they are in or where in the world they are located,” said Jim Colvin, CEO, Serious Labs.

“Disruption is becoming the new normal.”

The UMB comes standard with an operator’s seat, a custom-tuned D-Box actuator system for motion-feedback, and a slide-lock attachment system which is focused on operator comfort during equipment training. The UMB’s design offers logical options for equipment controls, including a steering column or control handles, multiple pedal options and attachment points on either side of the operator to accommodate all future equipment types.

As new vehicle simulators are developed using the UMB, Serious Labs developers tune the D-Box actuator system to match the equipment’s "feel" to ensure it provides critical motion queuing to mitigate cybersickness, a common problem found with many simulators currently on the market.

“The UMB marks our entrance into developing VR simulators for dirt moving equipment. This will introduce task-based scenarios for tool interaction with a dynamic terrain. In our simulators, if you were to operate a piece of equipment to pick up a load of dirt, traverse a jobsite and unload that dirt, we would be capturing telemetry on how to work a pile, the depth of the dig and the resistance on the equipment, wheel rotations from the dig and dump pile, and the conservation of mass during the task among many others,” said Wade Carson, Senior Director, Product Development. “This type of data helps to determine many aspects of equipment operation in addition to the operator’s proficiency and efficiency. We want to make sure that if these operators are operating these pieces of equipment, they're being efficient, and not damaging equipment in the process of being efficient. These tasks and results have real world implications.”

The company is currently in a pilot phase to develop forklift simulators with United Rentals’ built upon the UMB. They are also seeking additional partners in the construction industry, and are looking to expand beyond heavy equipment with active discussions in the commercial carrier industry.

“Virtual reality has changed the training landscape in the construction equipment world. Operators can now train in a risk-free environment which helps to save lives, reduce accidents and eliminate damaged equipment by untrained operators,” said Colvin. “Disruption is becoming the new normal.”