Source: Amazon Kenya

Amazon -the online retailing giant – will be more than tripling its research and development team in Cambridge. The R&D team of the e-commerce giant in Cambridge is working on technology innovations like its Echo smart speaker, Alexa digital assistant, and delivery drones.

Amazon to hire 400 experts in its Cambridge building

The U.S.-based e-commerce company is opening a new building in the city with room for 400 experts in knowledge engineering, speech science, mathematical modelling, and machine learning. The 60,000 sq. ft. centre adjacent to Cambridge train station will be hiking the number of Amazon tech experts in the city to 550 once it has hired 400 experts.

The existing development centre of the online retailer in the Castle Hill area of the city will switch to focus on developing drone delivery system – Prime Air – of the e-commerce giant.  In December last year, the Prime Air made its first successful trial delivery to the garden of a customer in Cambridge, notes Guardian. The delivery was of a bag of popcorn and a TV streaming stick.

Doug Gurr, UK country manager for 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.”  He added, “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.”

Here’s why Amazon is investing in R&D

The investment of the online retailer in the research and development area comes when the tech companies like Google, Apple and others are competing for ascendancy in the developing market for digital assistants. The digital assistant of the online retailing giant – Alexa – is competing against Apple’s Siri and Google Home. Users of both the mentioned digital assistants use the tech to control home heating, order products, check the weather and to control the entertainment systems in their homes by using voice control.

The online retailer has been developing several devices that utilize Alexa. One of those devices is Echo Look which is a smart camera that uses machine learning to click pictures, take videos and give fashion advice. Further, the e-commerce company is looking to start checkout-free grocery stores in Britain after registering a UK trademark for its Amazon Go format.

Over the course of this year, the overall UK workforce of Amazon is expected to grow from 19,000 to 24,000; most of them will be working in its delivery warehouses. By the end of 2017, the e-commerce giant is planning to have 15 delivery warehouses across the UK.