Amazon’s drone delivery segment is reportedly collapsing in the UK.
A new Wired report explains that Amazon’s plans to deliver packages using autonomous drones have hit serious turbulence, with the company firing a large number of employees from a team that has been “collapsing inwards.”
More than 100 employees from Amazon’s Prime Air division have reportedly lost their jobs or have been reassigned, many of whom were based at the Cambridge test site, amid claims that the operation had descended into “organised chaos,” Wired explains.
Sources from within the UK-based operation told the publication that the project “was never going to get off the ground,” five years after it was launched in 2016 as a way to provide customers with their orders within half an hour.
The project was allegedly complicated starting in 2019 by a “near constant churn” of managers and employees, resulting in many people with little technical knowledge of drones or artificial intelligence being given positions of authority.
Former employees also claimed that the company was constantly changing what it wanted from them, and that every few months an unnamed American executive would arrive from Amazon’s head office, buy pizza for the team, then double their workload.
An Amazon spokesperson said the company “recently made organizational changes in our Prime Air business and were able to find positions for affected employees in other areas where we were hiring.”
“Prime Air continues to have employees in the UK and will keep growing its presence in the region,” the spokesperson added.
Amazon focused its drone program in the UK partially because the country granted the company clearance to conduct test flights in 2016.