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(c) BFW Federal Forest Research Centre

Safety training in forestry with eXtended Reality methods

Working in the forest is usually dangerous: especially in the forestry environment, it is common to work with a chainsaw. However, many people have insufficient mastery of this craft because they have little practice and in many situations do not know how to react. If there is also a lack of the right training, things can quickly turn deadly.

The aim of the FWSafeXR project is to reduce the accident rate in forestry work. To this end, the project identifies safety-related training content in forestry technology and simulates it using phenomenological learning approaches in eXtended Reality (XR) technology. The particular advantage of XR technologies is that trainees can experience dangerous situations simulated in a realistic way without exposing themselves to possible dangers. The project follows a user-centred design approach, which ensures that the relevant stakeholders (trainers, experts, etc.) in the existing forestry training are fully involved in the development and that their requirements and needs are covered by the prototypes to be developed.

To this end, an analysis of existing forestry training courses was carried out at the beginning of the project with regard to sensible, safety-relevant supplementary possibilities using XR technology. In addition, the area of medical first aid in the forest was also considered, as this is very closely interwoven with the safety-relevant aspects in forestry technology. Based on these interim results, the use cases were defined, which will be prototypically implemented in the form of three XR training modules:

1) Preparatory measures

2) Tree felling

3) Execution of a helicopter mission

Furthermore, a gamification concept will be developed to enrich the training with playful elements. These three use cases are implemented as XR training prototypes. This prototype is the basis both for the final scientific evaluation of the XR-based learning concept and for the accompanying development of a concept for blended learning with XR for safety-related training content in forestry technology.

These project results are relevant both for forestry training and for organisations primarily active in the safety and health sector, as XR-based training simulations create practical case studies that can be directly experienced, which better prepare course participants for hazardous and emergency situations. In this way, the project experiences and work or utilisation results are to be taken into account in the future planning of courses and further training and thus existing e-learning offers are to be expanded and supplemented. In this way, the experiences and results of this project will point the way for further steps in occupational safety, prevention and assistance.

The FWSafeXR project is funded under the departmental research programme via dafne.at with funds from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management (BML) and runs until September 2023. The BML supports applied, problem-oriented and practical research in the department's area of competence.

Project coordinator

AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Center for Technology Experience

Project partner

  • Forestry Training Centres (FAST) Traunkirchen and Ossiach of the Federal Forest Research Centre (BFW)
  • Austrian Red Cross Regional Association of Upper Austria
  • Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Service GmbH

Key Words: Forestry; Occupational Safety; Virtual Training; Extended Reality; User Experience; Quality of Experience

Start: 1.5.2022

End: 30.11.2023

Client/Funder: Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management (BML)

Funding programme: DAFNE https://dafne.at   

AIT Project Management: Raimund Schatz