A GROUND-BREAKING Southam software developer has its sights set on saving lives and saving the taxpayer millions of pounds for taxpayer. RiVR is looking to provide the UK’s fire and rescue services with photo-realistic training environment using virtual reality (VR) headsets.

The firm has developed a programme which scans any real-world scene using lasers and high-definition photography and displays it as a 360° interactive environment in a VR headset. Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) has invested £50,000 in the software, which RiVR has used to create a virtual burned-out warehouse which is fully-interactive and replicates the sort of training scenarios firefighters are routinely exposed to, along with a set of 360° videos to train fire engine drivers.

The software, which RiVR hopes will be adopted across the UK, allows trainees to walk around a warehouse and inspect the street outside, pick up objects, find evidence, assess casualties and even feel to see if they still have a pulse. While all of this is happening, the trainer can watch the trainee’s every move on a computer screen, which shows what they are doing from a first person, third person and bird’s eye view, meaning the trainer can give real-time feedback on how the trainee has dealt with the scene.

Creating a typical real-life training scenario costs around £8,000, so using a VR training environment can save this amount every time the reset button is pressed. The opportunity arose from a chance meeting 18 months ago between RiVR CEO Alex Harvey and Paul Speight from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service.

Before founding RiVR, which is based on the Kineton Road industrial estate, Alex worked for Southam-based game developer Codemasters for eight years. He is using many of the techniques used in the gaming industry to develop the software. Read more from leamingtonobserver.co.uk…

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