It was just under a year ago that Amazon revealed Amazon Prime Air, its ambitious project that would see the online retail giant delivering packages to customers by drones. The announcement was met with a great deal of skepticism (for a variety or reasons), but Amazon has shown no signs of backing off from the goal.
“One day, Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today,” Amazon said back then. Since then, it's already been working on newer models of the drones. It April, CEO Jeff Bezos said the company was already working on its 7th and 8th-generation models.
Now, Amazon is reportedly expanding its R&D efforts in Cambridge, which includes an increased focus on Amazon Prime Air. Natasha Lomas at TechCrunch reports:
A source familiar with the company’s plans told TechCrunch it will focus on Prime Air, its autonomous delivery drones project, and on beefing up its speech tech R&D team.
The e-commerce giant has been staffing up for Prime Air over the summer, including seeking hires in Cambridge. It has continued advertising for Prime Air positions in the U.K. university town this fall, including a Flight Operations Engineer role posted this month, a Site Leader role posted in October and a Senior Research Scientist role posted in September. The latter asks for “experience applying machine learning approaches to complex problems,” among other skills.
According to the report, the new R&D expansion will also include work on speech technology.
In August, rival Google introduced its own delivery drones under the name Project Wing. We haven't heard a whole lot about that since then.
Amazon, however, has been frequently increasing its methods of getting products to people. It's even been testing same-day delivery by taxi.
Image via Amazon