Michigan State Police Get a New Training Simulator

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

Michigan State Police know a thing or two about driving. They have a whole outdoor track designed for teaching, but training is about to head indoors.

"Simulation technology came to us a few years ago to have us try their simulator asking how they could make it more life-like," Lt. Keith Wilson, commanding officer at the MSP Precision Driving Unit, said. "This will allow us to take our training to the next level."

It looks like a really big video game, but this driving simulator is not a toy. It has life-like scenarios which lend itself to life lessons, all without the risk.

"The point of the driver training simulation is to build an actual cock pit and overlay the actual vehicle dynamics over it," Todd Williams, CEO of Simulation Technology said.

The department has had it since June and several officers have already used it.

"You can't get the same type of feel you would of an actual car, but what you can do is put yourself in hazardous driving situations, and then think your way through it," Lt. Wilson said.

They gave us an opportunity to give it try Thursday, and it wasn't as easy as it looks.

"If you are physiologically engaged and really believe you're driving, it will leave an impression on your mind," Williams said. "That's something you take with you in actual driving situations."

They also produce the first fire truck simulator of its kind in the world, designed, like the other simulators, to train first responders, but they aren't the only ones getting behind the wheel.

"The teenagers who have limited driving skills, we can allow them to have a experience they've never had before," Lt. Wilson said.

Sim Tech believe this technology could save lives, which is certainly worth the investment.

"We now have the ability to train first responders in a safe and effective manner," Williams said, "that's not been available before."

The Michigan State Police did not pay for the driving simulator, "Simulation Technology" out of Illinois lent it to them indefinitely because they are looking for feedback on ways to improve their product.

One simulator can cost up to $170,000.

All but one employee of the company is from Michigan, they say they are trying to bring business back to their home state. All of the simulators are manufactured here.

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