Cops In UK Play Gran Turismo Sport For Extra Driver Training
24 October 2017 - motor1
We like sim racing, but is this really a good idea?
Police officers at the Lincolnshire Police Department are upping their game – literally. With a little help from Sony, Lincolnshire's finest are seeing whether the much-anticipated Gran Turismo Sport racing title for the Playstation 4 can actually make them better pursuit drivers. Now, we'll admit to being avid gamers, and the current crop of console racing titles are pretty amazing, but if you're scratching your heads and furling your eyebrows over this notion, trust us when we say you aren't alone.
Fear not, however, because it's presently just an experiment to see if such simulated measures can actually translate into real-world results. Officers went to Silverstone northwest of London to record live laps, then jumped behind simulated steering wheels to run the track through GT Sport, while getting instruction on how to reduce lap times. Afterward, the officers went back on-course to try and best their previous times, using what they learned from the game.
According to Lincolnshire PD's Assistant Chief Constable Shaun West, the training could offer an alternate way to supplement existing training procedures, but will never replace live in-car training.
It's not like simulations aren't used in other genres – GT Academy immediately comes to mind for racing, and at some point every single airline pilot has trained extensively on simulators. But learning the curves of a track, or how to conduct standard-rate turns in an aircraft is far different than the unfamiliar, split-second action that officers face in high-speed pursuits.
To Lincolnshire's credit, the press release emphasizes over and over that such sim driving is merely an experiment to see if it could help in addition to regular training. The department was also keen to point out that Sony footed the entire bill for the exercise, so hard-working British taxpayers weren't on the hook for the officers' day of extensive sim racing.
Did it actually work? Possibly, but the results aren't conclusive. Lincolnshire PD does say some officers were able to reduce lap times while also increasing smoothness and stability. But whether that was due to the sim training or just more on-track time isn't clear.