Theory of Operation

The Autopilot II is a control system that sits between a lighting console and moving lights. Pan and tilt control channels are intercepted and new values necessary to point the lights at 1 of 4 possible targets are inserted into the DMX control stream. Autopilot II can also control the iris size to keep the circle of light constant at varying distances from the light. All other channels for the moving light are controlled from the console. Intensity, color, and gobos remain the responsibility of the operator.

The Autopilot II system constructs an invisible 3 dimensional coordinate system (X, Y, and Z coordinates under the receivers). X,Y, and Z coordinates are determined for each receiver and each light. The beltpack sends ultrasonic signals which are "heard" by the receivers. The signal travel time to each receiver is measured and converted into a distance. Using triangulation, the coordinates of the beltpack are determined. As the position of each light is known, Autopilot II points each light to the selected beltpack. This is repeated many times per second.

The system also determines and sends the necessary pan and tilt data for each light to make it focus on the coordinates of the performer (beltpack). This too, is repeated many times per second.