Amazon is aiming to add more than 2,000 technology workers to its United Kingdom team, the company announced in a 3 July press release. While the statement noted roles include “engineers, software developers, data scientists and cloud and machine learning experts,” Bloomberg reported that Amazon’s Prime Air cargo drone service is among the technology areas new U.K. hires will work to develop.
According to the Amazon statement, more than 170 of the new jobs will be based at the company’s development centers in Cambridge, Edinburgh and London, where development projects include Amazon Web Services-related technology and Amazon’s re:MARS event – focused on machine learning, automation, robotics and space.
It was at last month’s re:MARS event that Amazon unveiled its newest Prime Air drone, which combines technology for vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) standard in most of the current commercial drone space with horizontal flight technology found in more traditional cargo aviation. According to the company, its business model for the drone allows for deliveries of up to five pounds within twelve kilometers from a company warehouse, to reach customers within thirty minutes. Early tests of the drone have so far been conducted in the U.K.
Amazon is not alone in moving to include unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in its fulfillment strategy. At Cargo Facts Asia in Shanghai during April, SF Express VP George Li highlighted the express company’s plans to use UAVs and VTOL aircraft to connect its regional and city hubs under SF’s three-tier aviation strategy. As Amazon works to build up its own network, it would not be surprising to see the e-tail giant develop a similar strategy utilizing widebody and narrowbody freighter aircraft, as well as drones, in its logistics network.
You can view video of the initial tests for Prime Air’s new drone below: