Amazon is planning to test its Prime Air delivery drones in the UK. A job ad seeking a flight operations engineer to work in Cambridge was posted last week. This summer Amazon asked the FAA for permission to conduct outdoor drone tests in the US.
The Prime Air flight operations engineer will be responsible for acting as a safety observer during indoor and outdoor flight tests. They’ll also be responsible for ensuring safety policies are followed during tests and planning the evolution of the program.
The ad asks for “flight test experience, manned or unmanned” and “5+ years of relevant aviation experience, either civilian or military with either manned or unmanned aviation”. Given that the UK is home to BAE Systems’ UAV efforts among others, there should be no shortage of candidates.
Amazon has also advertised for a Site Leader, Project Manager, Software Development Engineer, Senior Research Scientist and Office Manager to work on the Prime Air project in Cambridge. This all suggests that Amazon is getting serious about drone test flights in Britain and that Prime Air could be a higher priority for the company than anyone previously expected.
Amazon is also expanding the crew at Evi Technologies, the Cambridge-based natural language and AI firm that it acquired in October 2012. Several of the roles relate to speech tech, which is rather significant given the release of Amazon’s smart speaker Echo earlier this month.