It seems like as long as we’ve been talking about drones, we’ve also been talking about Amazon and drones.
The e-retailer has been cultivating its last-mile drone delivery plans basically since it launched Amazon Prime Air in 2013. This year, the company took a massive step forward when its drones, which can carry packages of five pounds or less, received approval from the FAA to begin operating.
So why, just months after this milestone, is Amazon laying off dozens of workers in its Prime Air division? According to reports, it’s not that Amazon is pulling back — rather, it’s expanding its drone efforts.
While the company is giving the ax to numerous employees responsible for R&D and manufacturing work within Prime Air, Amazon will expand its partnerships with third-party manufacturers to help produce components for the company’s drones. These include, currently, Austria's FACC Aerospace and Spain's Aernnova Aerospace, although Amazon says it’s requesting proposals from other suppliers as well.
Never content to keep all its eggs in one basket, Amazon has explored other opportunities to pair technology with last-mile delivery requirements, including its acquisition of driverless vehicle company Zoox earlier this year. The move should help Amazon manage its network of delivery vehicles ... when it's not flying drones, that is.