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MSFS2020 uses ADS-B data for “AI” traffic

Discussion in 'Other Flight Simulation Games' started by Zed, Aug 19, 2020.

  1. Zed

    Zed VR Simming w/Reverb Gold Contributor

    Apr 4, 2017
    +1,023 / 4 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, JRK
    I know lots of work ahead on FS2020 for motion. No VR, plugin, etc, but just discovered something very cool that FS2020 now does - it uses real world ADS-B position reporting data from actual aircraft to populate the virtual skies. It’s a partnership with FlightAware.


    Background - most aircraft now burst broadcast their position and flight information. Simple $20-30 software defined radios gather up those signals and forward the information to aggregating sites like FlightAware. That’s how you can track most civilian aircraft online. It runs on a Raspberry Pi and for a total cost of about $100-150 you can have your own “ADS-B node” and watch the air traffic in your area. I set one up. It’s easy and fascinating.

    I’ve watched in real time as the Virgin Galactic mother ship practices launches, gliders chase thermals, commercial traffic comes and goes and avoids weather, police helicopters watch over accidents, protests, do patrols, and with covid I see lots of medical flights. Flight training, test flights, commuters and airliners. I can watch aircraft taxi and takeoff or land at the local airports.

    But this is where FS2020 is getting or can get the “AI” traffic data - except it’s not AI. It’s real world.

    This is the kind of data you can see if you run your own ADS-B reporting node. You can watch the raw data and see everything that is available. FS2020 is using processed data where owners/operators who request privacy might have certain information obscured, but with FS2020, you can watch the real-time traffic at Sydney, Heathrow, La Guardia, etc. Not just a map view, but with real-world weather, you should ge able to see something of what he real pilots are seeing, basically as they see it. It’s a very cool capability. Rendered in the FS2020 engine.

    Here’s some of what it looks like from my node. I see traffic out 250nm depending on terrain shadowing. Apparently, I’ll be able to fly with this traffic virtually. They just won’t see me.


    You don’t need an ADS-B node to have real world aircraft in FS2020. Mentioning that as background but is a lot of fun in its own right. With your own ADS-B node you see everything available about what’s in the skies in your range. FS2020 uses the filtered stream but you apparently still see all the real world civilian traffic. You just don’t always know the details of the different aircraft.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. Ads Master

    Ads Master

    +0 / 0 / -0