Tutorial Airspace

1.1 Introduction

Autopilot offers a powerful networking feature called Airspace. Airspace allows multiple devices to share telemetry in real-time, including both location and altitude information. If a device is connected to an aircraft, it will also share the aircraft telemetry with the other devices in the Airspace.

Once connected, Airspace will continue to run even with the app in the background. Background execution enables use cases where it is desirable to lock the device screen, such as an athlete performing an action sport.

There are currently two types of Airspaces: Peer-to-Peer and Network. Peer-to-Peer Airspaces have limited connection range, but lower latency. Network Airspaces have unlimited connection range, but may have higher latency.

1.2 Use Cases

There are many possible use cases for Airspace, including but not limited to:

  • Using the location of an iPhone as the Focus Subject where the iPhone is attached to an athlete
  • Using the location of an iPhone as the Follow Leader on a wifi-only iPad
  • Using the barometric altitude of an iPhone as the Altitude Reference on an older iPad without a barometer
  • Using the location of an aircraft as the Focus Subject for a second aircraft (chase plane)
  • Using the location of an aircraft as the Follow Leader for a second aircraft (formation flying)

1.3 Choosing the Right Airspace Type

Since each type of Airspace has both advantages and limitations, it is necessary to select the appropriate type for your situation.

  • Conditions appropriate for Peer-to-Peer Airspaces:
    • Eight or less devices required
    • Maximum distance between devices will not exceed 250-400 ft
    • Tracking objects capable of making abrupt course corrections, such as other aircraft or action sports
    • Network connection unavailable on one or more of the devices
  • Conditions appropriate for Network Airspaces:
    • More than eight devices required
    • Maximum distance between devices expected to exceed 250-400 ft
    • Tracking objects that are expected to make relatively smooth course corrections, such as cars
    • Network connection available

2.1 Peer-to-Peer Airspaces Limited Range, Lower Latency

Peer-to-Peer Airspaces use bluetooth and ad-hoc wifi networks to enable communication, which means the connection distance is limited to the maximum range of those signals (about 250-400 ft), but the connection latency is low. The maximum number of devices in a Peer-to-Peer Airspace is eight, each of which can be connected to one aircraft for a total of sixteen possible Airspace Objects.

Entering a Peer-to-Peer Airspace
  • Tap Enter Airspace in the toolbar
  • Choose Peer-to-Peer as the Airspace Type
  • If this is the first device, choose Wait to wait for connection invitations
  • If this is not the first device, choose Search to send connection invitations
  • If new devices are ready to connect after the initial setup, tap Search for Devices to send more invitations

Tip Testing shows that enabling a Personal Hotspot on your iPhone may interfere with Peer-to-Peer connections. If you experience connection issues, make sure to disable your Personal Hotspot.

2.2 Network Airspaces Unlimited Range, Higher Latency

Network Airspaces use infrastructure wifi and cellular data to enable communication, which means the connection distance is unlimited, but the connection latency maybe be higher, depending on the quality of the network connection. There is no limit to the number of devices in a Network Airspace.

Entering a Network Airspace
  • If this is the first device:
    • Tap Enter Airspace in the toolbar
    • Choose Network as the Airspace Type
    • Choose Create New to create a new Airspace
    • Once the Airspace is created, Choose Continue on the next dialog to invite other devices
  • If this is not the first device, there are two options:
    • Option 1:
      • Wait for an invitation from one of the devices that is already connected
      • When you receive the invitation, tap the link to automatically connect to the Airspace
    • Option 2:
      • Tap the Airspace option from the main screen to open the Airspace Manager
      • Tap Enter Airspace in the toolbar
      • Choose Network as the Airspace Type
      • Choose Join Existing to join an existing Airspace
      • Enter the Airspace ID and tap Continue
  • If new devices are ready to connect after the initial setup, tap Send Invitation to send more invitations

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