UPilot from POMA
UPilot is the first digital training tool for cable transport system operation and maintenance. It comes from Poma in France – the home of cable transport.
Interview with Olivier BERTOLAMI, Deputy Director of Services
POMA has created UPilot, the first digital training tool for the ropeway transportation industry. Could you tell me more about this innovation?
OB: UPilot is the first digital training tool for the operation and maintenance of ropeway transportation means. UPilot is an online digital training platform which is based on a 3D gondola lift simulator and provides learners with interactive e-learning modules and assessment tools. In an urban environment, the teams which will operate future facilities are not always experienced in the field of ropeway transportation. Therefore, the operating staff needs to be trained before the facility is commissioned.
Why did you create a simulator? This is a real innovation in the field of ropeway transportation.
OB: Simulators have been used for many years in state-of-the-art industries such as aeronautics, defence, rail transport... Just like us, these business sectors can‘t afford to make mistakes. Our systems carry thousands of people comfortably and safely on a daily basis, and are subject to high availability requirements. Our simulator offers virtual gondola lift training and allows users to overcome the constraints of a real-life environment.
Furthermore, there is no need to close the facility during training sessions. Learners are faced with a range of varied scenarios, including emergency situations, and people as well as the machines remain safe at all times. With simulator-based training, the staff can gain knowledge quickly and with full confidence as the learning sessions are risk-free. The client has better control over training costs as the system does not stop and training times can be optimised. UPilot also allows for long-term traceability of lessons and assessments.
Olivier BERTOLAMI, Deputy director of Services POMA
What does your simulator look like?
OB: Our simulator comes in several versions, from the mobile version to the most spectacular one which is part of our new generation cabin 3S Symphony, and which provides full immersion.
Who is UPilot made for?
OB: UPilot is designed for the key positions involved in ropeway transportation: operators, cabin drivers and maintenance technicians. Whether for new systems or existing facilities, UPilot offers a theoretical and practical training programme which fits the learner‘s level of expertise: from new teams which have never worked in the ropeway transportation industry to chief operators of existing sites. Early this year, we moved our training centre to Chimelong, China in order to train the 18 drivers there over one week, allowing them to perfectly master the basic processes for the safe operation of the 3 sections of the gondola lift, whilst maintaining full availability.
How was UPilot born?
OB: UPilot is the result of three years of research and development. We initially created UPilot in order to train the 500 employees of ETAC, the Entreprise de Transport Algérien par Câbles (Algerian Ropeway Transportation Company). ETAC is in charge of developing, operating and maintaining the whole network of urban ropeway transportation facilities in Algeria, which makes it the world-leading operator in this industry.
UPilot allows companies to implement initial and ongoing training, as well as to constantly upgrade ETAC employees‘ skills. During the design phase, we formed a group composed of academics, professionals from the transport industry and ropeway transportation operators, in order to take into account all relevant issues, whether pertaining to educational methods, technical aspects, standards or regulations as part of this innovative project.
UPilot is the first digital training tool for cable transport system operation and maintenance.
What will the next steps be for the UPilot training concept?
OB: The main concern for ropeway transportation operators in the urban, tourism, snow sports and leisure industries is the maintenance and improvement of personnel skills. Each UPilot demonstration provides our clients with a practical solution to address these challenges. We have opened a digital training centre at the POMA head office in Voreppe, France, where our teams are already training our first pilot clients.
We are currently working on deploying a mobile solution offering more flexibility and allowing us to intervene everywhere in the world during on-site training sessions. Thanks to our clients, we identified the need to strengthen manager skills in certain key areas, and are now working on these aspects in collaboration with them.