These pictures show the first look inside a secret laboratory where internet retail giants Amazon are developing drones to deliver packages to people’s homes.
The workshop is nestled in the heart of Cambridge city centre, unbeknown to the general public.
Inside, the company’s Prime Air Service is being developed, which will allow drones to safely deliver packages to people’s homes in under 30 minutes.
The secret workshop is nestled in the heart of Cambridge city centre – unbeknownst to the general public – and it is the base where Amazon is creating special drones (above) that will safely deliver packages to customer’s homes in under 30 minutes
The drones – created for Amazon’s Prime Air Service – will use GPS coordinates to find their delivery destination and will fly to a maximum height of 400ft before identifying a marker to land and deliver the package using a ‘sense and avoid’ system
The lab is using 3D printing technology which allows it to make parts needed for the drone much quicker.
Packages that weigh just over 2kg will be delivered – which make up 87 per cent of the items Amazon sells – and can be delivered as far as 15 miles.
Kristen Kish, corporate communications for Prime Air, said: ‘If there are any obstacles that are in the way like a tree, through its sense and avoid system it can navigate around those.
‘There are those unexpected obstacles that can roll in unexpected, if it’s started to land then it goes straight up again.
‘We would rather not deliver the package then risk the safety. Any data we have is to only going to be used for safety.’
The drone will uses GPS coordinates to find its delivery destination and will fly to a maximum height of 400ft before identifying a marker for it to land and deliver the package using a ‘sense and avoid’ system.
They will be automated but will each be watched by a safety operator who will eventually watch many at the same time once their safety has been proven.
The site is the largest outdoor testing facility in the UK and is one of a number of testing sites in the country along with laboratories in Austria, Israel and the US.
In July the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) lifted strict drone flying restrictions to enable Amazon to start testing its drones which include testing sensor performance to make sure the drones can identify and avoid obstacles.
The company is keeping tight lipped about when the service will begin, but said they will not launch it until they are ‘able to demonstrate safe operations’.
Packages that weigh 2kg will be delivered – which make up 87% of the items Amazon sells – and can be delivered 15 miles
The Cambridge city centre site is the largest outdoor testing facility in the UK and is one of a number of testing sites in the country along with laboratories in Austria, Israel and the US. An Amazon spokesman said: ‘Cambridge is a hub of innovation’
Kristen said: ‘We think customers will love it. But this is not the only thing we do,
‘Amazon customers have choice. It’s ultimately going to depend on customer demand.
‘If it’s a service they want to use great but we’re going to give them options.
‘We’re continuing to do more and more in Cambridgeshire. It’s continuing to be an area of significance and importance for Amazon.
‘We want to get the talent and want to encourage science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with students here, it’s just so important we’re promoting that science.
‘The community is so important to us.. We’re continuing to expand our opportunities here and wanted to bring people in.
‘We love the UK, we have a really strong base here in the UK and a lot of opportunity here, our customers are fantastic.
‘Cambridge is a hub of innovation, it has a long history of doing amazing things. For us it really made good sense – there is fantastic talent here too.’