A report published in 2021 by PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that the UK is sitting on £42bn of potential economic growth over the coming decade associated with the drones and uncrewed aircraft market.

The problem is that wholesale transformation of existing air traffic management (ATM) systems is needed to open up a new age of commercial opportunities: urban air taxis, cargo and delivery services, security operations, healthcare support and environmental monitoring.

A hybrid airspace shared by crewed and uncrewed aircraft comes with huge complexity, both for localised urban areas and the potential for crowded skies, as well as the global air traffic system as a whole. Human operators in traditional ATM are already facing high workloads and a deluge of data from different information systems, flight planning, radar and weather. The current approach just isn’t scalable in ways that are going to deliver an all-important foundation of confidence among...