Amazon has let go of some of its research and development and manufacturing employees for its drone delivery service in favor of outsourcing. The company has already signed two deals with companies to manufacture some of the parts used in the custom delivery drones.
Over the last few weeks, Amazon’s drone delivery division has been letting go of its employees as it finalizes deals with Austria’s FACC Aerospace and Spain’s Aernnova Aerospace (via Financial Times).
Amazon is also exploring deals with other companies, suggesting it needs outside help to get its delayed delivery service off the ground.
It looks like the drone delivery program hasn’t gone to plan for Amazon as Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s head of worldwide consumer business said the following to an audience last year:
“We expect to scale Prime Air both quickly and efficiently, delivering packages via drone to customers within months.”
A spokeswoman from Amazon confirmed the layoffs and said that they are just a part of a transitional phase for the division, which happened to get FAA approval for testing earlier this year.
“As part of our regular business operations, we are reorganizing one small team within our larger Prime Air organization to allow us to best align with the needs of our customers and the business. For affected employees, we are working to find roles in the areas where we are hiring that best match their experience and needs.”
According to the Financial Times, Amazon wouldn’t disclose the number of staff it has working on its drone project but did manage to find 57 job openings for software and systems related roles.
Amazon Prime Air
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos talked about the company’s plan to use drones to deliver products during a 60 Minutes interview in 2013. The plan is to use drones to replace standard delivery options available today, in turn reducing costs.
Amazon Prime Air has been working on the drone delivery project for years now with various prototypes being shown off, including a video showcasing the technology to bring hype to drone deliveries. This will allow Amazon.com to start the rollout of their same-day delivery plan that was announced earlier this year.
Amazon Prime Air estimates a delivery time of around 30 minutes to select addresses and a capacity of around five pounds (2.27kg), a large amount of the e-commerce giant’s product catalog.