After trying and failing to change the mobile market with its Fire phone, and now being first to market with its ‘Echo’ voice recognition device, Amazon is pushing ahead with all sorts of innovation. Some are more mainstream than others, but it has had to bring its main Research and Development centre to the UK in order to progress with it’s Prime Air service development.
Recent job postings on UK job sites have shown that Amazon is recruiting heavily for help with its drone based delivery network as TechCrunch has found several ads for flight operations engineers – for both indoor and outdoor flight.
Many thought it was an April Fools joke, but Amazon seems to be pushing on with ‘Amazon Prime Air’ – a delivery service designed to cut out the middle delivery man and offer same day air delivery via a fleet of drones. It may be a race to see who can make this tech the norm, as DHL is already working on their own service. However, the same flight red tape that has limited tests in the USA may inhibit progress in the UK also.
The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must maintain direct, unaided visual contact with the aircraft sufficient to monitor its flight path in relation to other aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the purpose of avoiding collisions. – Civil Aviation Authority
Both Amazon and Google have been battling with the FAA for permission for outdoor testing and dummy delivery in the US. Commercial use of unmanned commercial flights are specifically banned from use by the FAA. It’s believed Amazon may stand more of a chance of seeing favourable rule changes in the UK, as the use of unmanned commercial flights are only banned without a clear line of sight. The CAA has advised Amazon to keep tests to dedicated facilities at the moment while it looks at collision avoidance systems and possible law changes.
“The introduction of sense-and-avoid may lead to rule changes, because at the moment it’s illegal just to launch a drone over significant distances without being in the line of sight,” the CAA spokesperson stated.
Amazon is also looking to recruit research scientists and project managers for Amazon’s new Research and Development site in Cambridge, UK. The positions are rumoured to be for working alongside Amazon acquired speech recognition innovator Evi in order to push forward the search and voice recognition software for Amazon’s new services, not in the least the new Echo.
The Echo is a true testament to Amazon’s push forwards, you would expect something like this to have come from Google. Check out more of our thoughts on the full Echo article and let us know your thoughts on drone delivery services on social media or in the comments below.