Afsim has introduced a new range of driving simulators designed to give learners a realistic driving experience before hitting the road.
Simulators are widely used to teach pilots how to fly aeroplanes. In other countries, such as the United States of America, simulators have been used as part of drivers’ education at schools for decades. With the introduction of Afsim Driving simulators this technology is finally available in South Africa. Learner drivers can now acquire basic driving skills in a safe, yet realistic environment before they hit the road.
‚We wanted to fill the gap between people who cannot drive at all and the training which is provided at traditional driving schools,‚ says Joubert Smith, general manager of Afsim, the company which provides the only driving simulators of its kind in South Africa.
Afsim imports high quality simulators which are then built into mobile units to allow access to anywhere where there is a demand for driver training. Individual simulators are also available.
The simulators use high quality yet cost effective software. It features real vehicle parts such as a right hand drivers unit, seat belt, earphones, steering wheel, indicator and windscreen wiper controls and a five-speed manual gearbox, to give learners a very realistic experience. The clutch for example is not a spring or a hydraulic system, but a real clutch plate.
The 32 inch LCD screen incorporates the rear view mirror views.
Unlike some driving computer and video games, the Afsim simulators are designed to allow learner drivers to practice and develop skills they will need when driving a real car. Users of the simulators also receive reports after each session, which enhances the learning experience.
Smith says Afsim aims to not only teach learners and other potential drivers to pass their driver’s licence test but to contribute towards improved quality of driving in South Africa by establishing the correct driving skills under all possible scenarios. This is achieved in a relaxed, controlled and safe environment, where learners can establish their skills through constant repetition under direct facilitation of qualified facilitators. The biggest cause of deaths among young people between the ages 16 ‚ 25 is road accidents and inexperience drivers are mostly the cause off those accidents.
Besides getting people to learn better driving skills, Afsim also provides the opportunity to become involved in the social development of youth directly in the community. All people do not have access to vehicles to learn how to drive. Afsim can bring this opportunity to communities and give people who do not necessarily own a vehicle, the opportunity to learn driving skills in a safe environment.
The training is based on the K53 driver test standards. There are 12 modules learners can follow, which include practicing changing gears, clutch control, incline starts, parallel parking, driving in city traffic as well as driving at night or in bad weather conditions such as rain and snow.
There is feedback on every single physical component of the simulator, explained Marelize Labuschagne, marketing manager of Afsim. ‚If you choose the simulation in rainy conditions, the learners need to activate the wipers and they have to switch on the lights in night conditions.‚
‚Since we first introduced the product at the end of last year, we have received overwhelming interest from across South Africa and even other African countries‚ , according to Labuschagne. There are various Afsim business units located across the country with more expected to open soon.