In a press release, VATSIM has provided us with details announcing the release date of Audio For VATSIM, their brand new voice technology, which is set to launch on Monday the 14th of October 2019.
VATSIM state that this is the dawn of the next generation of online flight simulation. This will be the biggest and innovative technological change to their well-aged system and the VATSIM community in many years to be rolled out across all pilot and ATC clients.
In order to implement this change, the AFV team will need to do two things. Firstly, the entire network must be taken offline for maintenance for a short period on the 13th of October 2019 at 2000z. Secondly, all VATSIM members will be required to have updated their ATC and pilot clients to be compatible with the brand-new infrastructure.
Some of the innovative features Audio for VATSIM will introduce include:
- State of the art voice quality – a brand new Opus-based voice codec with optional realistic distortion, white noise, VHF and HF simulation.
- Reduced delay – up to 80% reduction in latency, making busy frequencies more realistic and manageable.
- Range simulation – transceivers set up as per real ATC positions, with signal strength dependent on distance and altitude.
- Customisable technology – this upgrade paves the way for future amazing development by the community.
Audio for VATSIM is the revolutionary new communications platform for online flight simulation, developed by members of Simfest UK in-conjunction with the VATSIM team, it models real-world VHF and HF radio technologies and immerses the virtual pilot and controller presenting both the benefits and challenges of aviation radio communication to the user.
Users will benefit from a crystal clear base codec with an 80% latency reduction compared to VATSIM’s current voice solution. This codec is then transformed to sound like real-world airliner and air traffic control radios as verified by real-world pilots and ATC professionals. This is then run through a powerful simulation engine that replicated how VHF and HF radios really work.
As pilots fly further away from an ATC’s radio antenna, they will experience real-time signal degradation with increasing static until they are no longer able to hear the controller. A pilot’s reception range will increase and decrease with altitude, potentially resulting in areas where they cannot hear ATC due to not being in range of a radio tower based on real-world data.
A half-duplex model is implemented where a pilot or controller transmitting on a frequency will not be able to hear others until they finish with their transmission. When two users transmit on the same frequency simultaneously, the others will hear the blocking tone familiar to real-world pilots. Finally, every frequency in the VHF communications radio spectrum works whether there is air traffic control online or not, so for the first time ever on VATSIM, voice UNICOM and eventually communicating on common traffic advisory frequencies become a reality.
Audio for VATSIM is a completely free upgrade to all members of the world’s largest online aviation network. All 80,000 of VATSIM’s active users will need to perform the aforementioned small update to their pilot or controller connection clients to use the new technology. Relevant information can be found at audio.vatsim.net.
All flight simulator users are welcome to join and fly in their online community for free to experience the next generation of online flight simulation!