A year ago, in the latest attempt to distract from his company's inability to generate profit, Amazon's Jeff Bezos revealed his latest breathless vision for the latest marketing gimmick future in the form of Amazon Prime Air: a fleet of unmanned delivery drones bringing customers the goods they ordered or, as the case may be, didn't order. Immediately in the aftermath of this announcement, a just as breathless ad hoc group of drone hunters was conceived, and patiently waited for the announcement from Bezos where said Prime Air Drones would be tested so they too could test their sharpshooting skills. As of today they are in luck, because as the FT reports, Amazon has picked one of the intellectual capitals of the Old World, UK's university town Cambridge, as the place where it will test its fleet of unmanned delivery drones.
Amazon is advertising a series of jobs at Evi Technologies, a Cambridge-based start-up acquired by Amazon two years ago, related to its Prime Air project, which suggests the US tech conglomerate is ploughing ahead with the concept.
The company is looking for engineers and experts to conduct flight tests of the autonomous drones, seeking candidates with at least five years of “aviation experience, either civilian or military, with either manned or unmanned aviation”.
Amazon may be hoping to tap into the experience of Britain’s major defence contractors, such as BAE Systems, which have built drones for military purposes.
The group is also looking to expand the team Evi Technologies, which started life as an artificial intelligence company that specialises in “natural language” technologies, with voice recognition becoming a standard feature of many Amazon devices. Earlier this month it launched Echo, a speaker that can be operated using spoken controls.
Meanwhile, Amazon is on a hiring spree:
In September the company said it was opening new offices in east London, among the so-called Silicon Roundabout cluster of tech start-ups. The office in Principal Place, a 15-storey tower, will provide capacity for more than 5,000 employees once it is completed in 2016.
In October, it also said it would create 1,000 new permanent jobs at its “fulfilment centres”, enormous warehouses where it stores goods and fills orders, across eight locations in the UK. Amazon says it has spent £1bn on its UK operations to date
Indeed, this is not surprising: as we showed a few weeks ago when Amazon reported abysmal earnings, while the company's global revenue growth is tumbling, at least its eagerness to hire every part-time worker in the world is proceeding as planned.
Hopefully some of these part-time workers know how to insulate the Prime Drone with a bulletproof vest: it will surely need it.