Amazon is about to triple the size of its research and development team based in Cambridge, working on tech innovations i.e. Alexa Digital Assistant, Delivery Drones and the Echo smart speaker. The online retailer has announced they will be opening a new building in the city with room for 400 amazon experts who specialise in mathematical modelling, machine learning and speech science.
Amazon’s current development centre based in the city’s Castle Hill area will switch to focus on further developing the company’s drone delivery system, Prime Air which we’ve told you about previously. Prime Air made its first successful trial delivery back in December – The delivery included a TV streaming stick and bag of popcorn – to the garden of a customer in Cambridge customer.
“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, UK country manager for Amazon.
“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.”
Amazon’s Alexa devices are up against large competitors like Google Home and Apple’s Siri, allowing users to check the weather, control heating and entertainment systems along with ordering their shopping in their homes using voice control. Amazon has also been further developing a number of other devices design to utilise Alexa, including Echo Look, a smart camera that provides fashion advice.
The Amazon workforce is expected to reach 19,000 – 24,000 over 2017, the large majority of which will be warehouse and delivery based work. Amazon also plans to have 15 delivery warehouses across the UK by the end of 2017.