Technology

The French division of Amazon Prime Air converts itself into Covid tests

The Parisian Amazon Prime Air team, working on drone traffic management software, was given a completely different new mission. The sign, once again, that Amazon is drastically reviewing its plans for its drone delivery project. The information is reported by Bloomberg, on Friday, November 12, 2021, which specifies that this team of a dozen people has been reassigned to new missions as of September 2020 and is mainly focused on software related to Covid tests, according to the job profiles on LinkedIn.

Hundreds of layoffs in the UK

The Paris R&D center opened in May 2017. It sought to develop traffic management software for autonomous drones, in order to “enable safe low-altitude drone operations, providing access to airspace and remote monitoring of drones. , real-time identification and separation of air traffic and flight planning, including contingency management and weather prevention. ” At least eight people from the drone team are now working on the Covid test software, according to LinkedIn profiles seen by Bloomberg. Amazon has massively tested its employees with its own testing solutions and diagnostic labs.

This is not Amazon’s first pivot in this area. The British division in charge of this project has separated from more than 100 employees. Amazon Prime Air now appears to be looking to partner with third-party companies to make components for its delivery drone. “Prime Air continues to make progress towards achieving our vision of delivering deliveries in 30 minutes or less per drone,” an Amazon spokesperson told Bloomberg. We recognize that the only solution worth launching is secure and we continue to work closely with regulators to this end. “

An advertisement from 2013

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, affirmed his ambition to deliver packages by drone in 2013. Since then, the company has opened research and development centers in the United States and Europe. In 2016 a first drone delivery test was carried out near Cambridge, England, as part of a pilot project.

Amazon Prime Air aims to deliver packages weighing less than 2.3 kg in 30 minutes within a 12-kilometer radius around its warehouses. But the company has never managed to keep its own hours, as Bloomberg reminds us. In 2019, it said its latest drone model would make deliveries to customers a few months later. But it was not.

Prime Air has development centers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Israel. Amazon currently lists 111 job openings for its Prime Air division, primarily in the United States, and is recruiting drone operators in Seattle and Pendleton, as well as computer vision hardware and software scientists and engineers.

Amazon Prime Air has received approval to implement a commercial drone delivery service in the United States. The e-commerce company has obtained this valuable authorization together with Wing, the Alphabet subsidiary, and UPS, who are working on similar projects.

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