Tech Transformers

Amazon to open 60,000 square foot hub in the UK to research A.I., drone deliveries

Key Points
  • Amazon's development center will be a 60,000 square foot hub with capacity for 400 people.
  • It will be located in Cambridge, a city just north of the capital London.
  • Researchers at Amazon's hub will focus on Prime Air drone deliveries and artificial intelligence research.

Amazon said on Thursday it would open a 60,000 square foot development center later this year in the U.K. focused on artificial intelligence (A.I.) and drone delivery research.

The site in Cambridge, which is just north of the capital London, will have a capacity for 400 people but the U.S. e-commerce giant did not say how many people it was hiring.

Amazon's announcement comes after it pledged in February to hire 5,000 full-time staff in the U.K. this year, which would bring its headcount in the country to 24,000 from the previous 19,000 figure. The company announced separately on Thursday that it has invested £6.4 billion ($8.26 billion) across the U.K. since 2010.

"By the end of this year, we will have more than 1,500 innovation related roles here in Britain, working on everything from machine learning and drone technology to streaming video technology and Amazon Web Services," Doug Gurr, U.K. country manager for Amazon, said in a press release on Thursday.

Amazon said the development center is set to open in fall.

Teams working on products such as the Kindle, Echo and Amazon's voice assistant Alexa, will move to the new Cambridge location.

The U.K. has been an important center for Amazon's research and development. The company acquired a start-up called Evi in 2012, with the technology becoming a key part of the development of Alexa. Amazon has also been testing drones in the U.K. with its first commercial delivery made in December using this method.