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July 11, 2016

UK home to Amazon’s largest drone testing hub, drone delivery trials could be about to start

News: Company puts Brexit behind its back, keeps investing heavy in the UK.

By

Online retailer Amazon is believed to be planning to test delivery drones in Cambridge, UK.

According to a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) that covers the south Cambridge region, which is over Amazon’s UK headquarters and R&D centre, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will be flying in that airspace between July 7 until October 5.

The devices will be flown up to a height of 750 feet, within a two nautical miles radius.

The schedule time for test is from sunrise to sunset, the H3900/16 NOTAM shows.

If successful, the UAVs could be used for Amazon’s Prime services in deliveries with a distance of up to 30 minutes.

Daniel Buchmueller, Amazon's drone development operations in the UK said at the recent AWS Summit: “We have [drone] development centres right here in the UK.  In the United States, in Austria, and in Israel.

“These are places where we have dedicated indoor facilities. But we also have outdoor testing facilities. In fact, our largest outdoor facility is right here in the UK.”

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The drone tests are just another move from Amazon in positioning the UK at the core of its business, despite the nation voting to leave the European Union on June 23, which has raised many questions on how technology companies would react.

Amazon said it is “business as usual” for them, and in addition to the now announced drone trials, it announced it would also be creating an extra 1,000 jobs in Britain. This is in addition to 2,500 jobs announced earlier in the year.

The company’s cloud business is also very much focused on its UK expansion, with AWS reiterating that it will be building a new data centre in the London region due to be open in early 2017.

The London data centre will be AWS' third European hub following Dublin and Frankfurt.

 

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