InnovationResearch

Amazon Expands UK R&D With Cambridge Development Centre

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

The new centre will focus on machine learning and devices such as the Kindle, Fire tablet, Echo Dot and Alexa

Amazon is boosting its research and development (R&D) operations in the UK with the launch of a Development Centre site in Cambridge to supplement the ones currently operating in Edinburgh and London.

The 60,000 square foot centre will have capacity for over 400 employees, consisting of machine learning scientists, knowledge engineers, data scientists, mathematical modellers, speech scientists and software engineers.

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock described the development as “fantastic news” for the country, saying: “Amazon’s increased investment in developing cutting-edge technology in Cambridge is another vote of confidence in the UK as a world-leading centre of invention and innovation.”

Amazon launch event

R&D boost

Staff at the new site, which is set to open this autumn, will focus on devices such as the Kindle, Fire tablet, Echo Dot and Alexa and Amazon is currently recruiting in Cambridge as part of its expansion plans in the city.

The current Development Centre building at Castle Hill will be used for R&D related to Prime Air, Amazon’s delivery system that uses drones with the aim of getting parcels to customers in thirty minutes or less.

In this same area the e-commerce giant is also looking at building “airborne fulfilment centres” or “flying warehouses” which will hover over cities and deploy drones for quick delivery in areas where demand is expected to be high.

“We are constantly inventing on behalf of our customers, and our Development Centres in Cambridge, Edinburgh and London play a major role in Amazon’s global innovation story,” said Doug Gurr, Amazon’s UK country manager.

“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.”

The expansion adds to the £6.4 billion investment that Amazon has made in the UK since 2010, with the company also pledging to create 5,000 new permanent roles across the country and open a €1 billion (£873m) data centre campus in west Dublin.

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