Amazon intends to outsource part of the work so, it has removed dozens of employees from the Prime Air team, its drone delivery project.
Now, part of the efforts will be outsourced to other companies, which will operate in the areas of R&D (research and development) and production.
The measure would have been taken due to the retailer’s dissatisfaction with the pace of the project. In a note, Amazon said that the reduction in the Prime Air team happened to adapt the project to the needs of customers and the business. The company did not reveal the number of employees on leave, but pointed out that it seeks new roles for them in its internal staff.
“As part of our regular business operations, we are reorganizing a small team within our larger Prime Air organization to allow us to better align with the needs of our customers and the company,” said Amazon to the vehicles. “For the affected employees, we are working to find jobs in the areas where we are hiring that best match their experiences and needs.”
The company’s executives would not be happy with the speed of development of Prime Air. The drone delivery service was announced in 2013, without a prediction of when it would reach customers. In June 2019, the head of Amazon’s consumer division, Jeff Wilke, said the project would gain scale a few months later. This has not yet happened, but the company expects to move forward in 2021, albeit at a slow pace.
With the change in plans, Amazon has initial agreements with at least two companies: the Austrian FACC and the Spanish Aernnova Aerospace. Both produce parts for companies such as Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier. The terms of the agreement are still being defined, but companies are expected to manufacture components of the drones that will be used in deliveries. The retail giant is also expected to enter into partnerships with other companies.
Although it has not yet reached full operation, Amazon has already introduced a drone model that will be used in deliveries. At a conference held in 2019, the company unveiled a device capable of traveling 24 kilometers with orders of up to 2.2 kg. It has six rotors, common and infrared cameras, as well as sensors on all sides.
In August 2020, the company received authorization from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to test drone deliveries. The permit determines that the company must follow guidelines adapted from the model used with airlines, but there is no information on the progress of the tests.