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Machine learning and drones to drive Amazon’s UK expansion

Amazon joins Apple, Google, Facebook and Siemens as another big tech name committing to the UK long-term despite Brexit.

By Ellie Burns

In what will be good news to those concerned about UK tech after Brexit, Amazon is set to expand in the UK with the addition of 400 staff to a new R&D centre.

The lab in Cambridge will be focused on machine learning and is looking to hire scientists who will work on the development of hardware such as Echo and Prime Air drones. Amazon are looking for candidates who are highly skilled in the areas of machine learning, speech processing and  mathematical modelling.

Amazon is yet another big name who has committed to the UK in the long-term, despite the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit. Recently, Siemens reaffirmed its commitment to the UK, with UK CEO Juergen Maier emphasising the importance of London and the UK as a leading market for the German engineering giant.

Household names like Google and Apple have also insisted that they are going nowhere despite the UK’s exist from the EU, with the former putting forward a £1 billion investment plan for a new headquarters in King’s Cross. Facebook, meanwhile, announced an additional 500 jobs for London and Apple revealed its plans for new headquarters in Battersea.

READ MORE: “We’re a big believer in the UK” – Tim Cook gives Brexit vote of confidence

Speaking to the Financial Times, Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s chief executive of worldwide consumer retail, said:

“We [are] concentrating scientific development work in London, Cambridge and Edinburgh, because they attract great people . . . the UK is such a great place to recruit machine learning expertise.

“For us, it’s a place we will continue to invest in heavily for all of those reasons.”

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By the end of 2017, Amazon hopes to add another 5,000 UK employees to its books, as well as open a new HQ in London and three new fulfilment centres around the country. Since 2010, the ecommerce giant has invested £6.4bn in its operations in Britain.Machine learning and drones to drive Amazon’s UK expansion

Pointing to the fact that Alexa was partially developed using tech from Cambridge start-up Evi Technologies, Mr Wilke told the FT:

“Programmes like the Echo/Alexa, the whole Fire TV series, Kindle, Prime Air, all of that has happened inside the UK and we expect to see more of it.”

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