amazon prime drone

Amazon is set to open a new development centre site in Cambridge this autumn, leaving its existing facilities to concentrate on drone development.

The new 60,000 sq ft city centre building will have capacity for more than 400 employees including machine learning scientists, knowledge engineers, data scientists, mathematical modellers, speech scientists and software engineers.

The teams working on devices such as Kindle, Fire tablet, Fire TV Stick, Echo, Echo Dot and the new Echo Look, as well as Alexa, will move from the existing Castle Hill facilities to the new larger site.

The remaining teams at the Castle Hill development centre will focus on research & development for the Prime Air drone delivery system, which is currently being trialled in the area and aims to get parcels to customers in 30 minutes or less.

In December, Amazon ran its first successful drone test, in which a TV streaming stick and bag of popcorn were delivered in just 13 minutes.

At the time, Amazon said it would use data from the test to extend the trial to dozens more “in the coming months” and eventually take it to “hundreds”, though it did not specify a timeframe.

“We are constantly inventing on behalf of our customers, and our development centres in Cambridge, Edinburgh and London play a major role in Amazon’s global innovation story,” said Doug Gurr, Amazon UK country manager.

“By the end of this year, we will have more than 1,500 innovation-related roles here in Britain, working on everything from machine learning and drone technology to streaming video technology and Amazon web services.”

The company said it had invested £6.4bn across the UK since 2010, and has pledged to create 5,000 new permanent roles across the country this year, bringing its full-time workforce to 24,000.