We frequently mention that our programmes are designed and developed by a researcher with many years experience in the field, using internationally best-practice coaching techniques and the latest evidence-based behavioural interventions. The person we are referring to, is Dr Robert B. Isler, the founder and Head of Research for eDrive and Fleetcoach.
Robert is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Traffic and Road Safety Research group (TARS) at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, and in total he has more than 25 years of road safety research experience. His current research involves a substantial output in applied human factors/performance and road safety research. He has published widely in international peer reviewed journals which gives him a strong national and international reputation as a research leader.
Robert received his Ph. D. (Behavioural Science) from the prestigious Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland. He moved to New Zealand with his wife and two children 28 years ago, and deepened his strong interest in neuroscience, behavioural change and road safety. His pioneering work with the first head-mounted ‘eye-tracker’ showed that eye movements control to a large degree how drivers move their steering wheels and more importantly, how effective eye scanning behaviour and hazard perception skills can be trained in laboratory and real driving situations (Isler, R., Starkey, N. & Sheppard, P., 2011; Isler, R. & Starkey, N. 2012).
These research findings were practically applied in 2004 when he developed the interactive multimedia training program (CD-DRIVES), sponsored by the New Zealand Government (ACC and NZTA). The program was made freely available to all novice drivers in New Zealand and received several multi-media awards, including a TUANZ award for ‘Best Interactive Educational Software Award in NZ’.
He then developed a similar product for young drivers in the UK (A2om-mind), which was nominated for a Prince Michael Road Safety Award. After this came eDrive in 2010, the highly successful online training program in New Zealand and also a free training program for all New Zealanders to practice the new give way rules. This free resource has been used by more than 400,000 drivers.
For his research Robert regularly receives large external grants that allow him to develop research laboratories and conduct large scale collaborative research projects, which impacted on the safety of child pedestrians, inexperienced and older drivers, and road and workers. He has given several keynote addresses at international conferences on Driver Behaviour and Training - the latest was for the European Commission for Driver Training (CIECA) in 2013. Very recently he also presented at the Applied Psychology conference in Paris, 2014, where he showed evidence that drivers perceive risks of video based traffic situations the same way as on the real road (Charlton, S., Starkey, N., Perrone, J., Isler, R. 2014).
Robert is keen to pursue meaningful applied research whose findings have the potential to solve real transport safety issues, and can lead to mass education and training of drivers in order to improve their safety record. Fleetcoach is the latest practical application of Robert’s research, and is constantly developing in line with the most recent research in the field.