Amazon is planning to test drones in Cambridge, England, as the battle to offer consumers same-day deliveries heats up.
The US company announced with considerable fanfare late last year that it was considering using drones as a way of dramatically reducing the time it takes to deliver orders to customers. At the time there was speculation that the move was little more than a publicity stunt. But Amazon said in July that it had sought permission from the US Federal Aviation Administration to test drones that could fly as fast as 50 miles per hour for up to 30 minutes at a time to deliver packages weighing up to 2.3kg (5lb).
Amazon is now expanding its R&D operations in Cambridge – two years after buying Cambridge-based startup Evi Technologies – to take advantage of the talent pool of academics and researchers in the area.
Amazon is exploring a variety of ways to deliver orders faster than the overnight service it currently offers. It has experimented with using taxis in San Francisco and Los Angeles to make multiple deliveries bound for the same location, the Wall Street Journal reported this month. Last month, it introduced its first same-day collection service in Britain using a network of 500 newsagents and convenience stores under the Pass My Parcel brand.