The slow collapse of Amazon’s drone delivery dream | WIRED UK

Sono anni che esprimo, per cosi’ dire il mio “scetticismo” sulla logistica di ultimo miglio con droni…

Vediamo se adesso qualcuno inizia a pensare che forse era scetticimo motivato…

Source : Wired UK

The slow collapse of Amazon’s drone delivery dream

Well over 100 employees at Amazon Prime Air have lost their jobs and dozens of other roles are moving to other projects abroad as the company shutters part of its operation in the UK, WIRED understands. Insiders claim the future of the UK operation, which launched in 2016 to help pioneer Amazon’s global drone delivery efforts, is now uncertain.

Those working on the UK team in the last few years, who spoke on condition of anonymity, describe a project that was “collapsing inwards”, “dysfunctional” and resembled “organised chaos”, run by managers that were “detached from reality” in the years building up to the mass redundancies.

They told WIRED about increasing problems within Prime Air in recent years, including managers being appointed who knew so little about the project they couldn’t answer basic work questions, an employee drinking beer at their desk in the morning and some staff being forced to train their replacements in Costa Rica. Amazon says it still has staff working for Prime Air in the UK, but has refused to confirm headcount.

Just five years ago, Prime Air’s UK operations were at the centre of a frenzied public relations campaign, with Amazon executives claiming that drones would be delivering packages within a few years. The company offered tours of its secret drone lab to local schools, opened a huge new office in Cambridge and released an array of promotional videos for the flights that received millions of views. UK regulators also fast-tracked approvals for drone testing, which made the country an ideal testbed for drone flights and paved the way for Amazon to gain regulatory approval elsewhere.

But in the intervening years the tours stopped, the promotional videos were unlisted from Amazon’s YouTube channel and, bar occasional promises from executives like Jeff Wilke that delivery drones would become a reality “within months”, the firm’s previously widespread PR campaign disappeared. Meanwhile, despite being one of the first big companies to show interest in drones, Amazon was overtaken by Alphabet-owned Wing and UPS in the race for US regulatory approval. Now, half a decade after first conducting UK test flights, the project’s entire UK data analysis team is being made redundant.

An Amazon spokesperson says it will still have a Prime Air presence in the UK after the cuts, but refuses to disclose what type of work will take place. The spokesperson also refused to confirm, citing security reasons, if any of the test flights that once filled promotional videos will still take place in the UK. The spokesperson adds that the company has found positions in other parts of its business for some affected employees and that it will keep growing its presence in the region. The spokesperson did not confirm how many employees were offered other jobs internally.

Continua qui: The slow collapse of Amazon’s drone delivery dream | WIRED UK.

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