A laptop using an auto detect adhoc WiFi network & ping to measure distance.
"ping" doesn't measure physical distance. It measure the time required for network traffic to pass through all of the bridges and routers between the source and destination and back again.
The best way to detect that a collision has occurred is to notice that the aircraft has been transformed into chunks of flaming metal falling out of the sky.
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And network distance has absolutely nothing to do with physical distance. The connection's latency often has a lot more to do with number of "hops" than with how long the wires are for each hop.
Cute idea, but that just isn't how it works.