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Amazon extends commitment to AI, drones


The United Kingdom is preparing for Amazon’s newest technology hub — a lab that will focus on innovations from artificial intelligence to machine learning.

The online giant plans to open a new 60,000 sq. ft. development center in Cambridge this fall. The facility will have the capacity to employ more than 400 associates, including machine learning scientists, knowledge engineers, data scientists, mathematical modelers, speech scientists and software engineers.

Amazon’s current development center in Castle Hill, England, will be used primarily for research and development for Prime Air. Castle Hill’s teams, which are already working on devices such as Kindle, Fire tablet, Fire TV Stick, Echo, Echo Dot and the new Echo Look, as well as Alexa, will transfer to the new Cambridge lab when it opens, Amazon said.

“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, U.K. country manager, Amazon. “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 new facility is part of the Amazon’s significant investment in the U.K. For example, in February, the company reported that it planned to hire 5,000 full-time staff in the U.K. this year, a move that would bring its headcount in the country to 24,000 employees, according to Business Insider.

The company has invested $8.26 billion in its U.K. operations since 2010, according to Amazon.
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