Amazon is planning to build a massive Development Center in Cambridge, United Kingdom, the British division of the American tech giant revealed in a release published on Thursday. The science hub will span 60,000 square feet and be focused on researching artificial intelligence (AI), drones, and related technologies, the company said. The center is scheduled to be opened this fall and will host 400 researchers, though it's currently unclear how many of them will be new hires as opposed to existing employees that Amazon will simply relocate north of London. However, the company will turn to the job market to fill at least a portion of those new positions, at least according to the comments made by Doug Gurr, Amazon's Country Manager for the United Kingdom. In a short statement included in the announcement of the firm's new research center, Gurr said that the British unit of the U.S. tech giant is planning to employ over 1,500 researchers and other innovators by the end of the year.
Amazon's latest announcement is likely connected to the company's February pledge to create 15,000 new jobs across Europe over the course of 2017. Those positions that Amazon already started creating on the Old Continent exclusively refer to full-time jobs, and approximately one-third of all new roles will be located in the United Kingdom, recent reports have indicated. In a separate release that was also published on Thursday, the Seattle-based eCommerce and tech company said that it invested £6.4 billion — more than $8.25 billion — in the UK in the last seven years, indicating that its commitment to the country will keep increasing in the coming years. Amazon is currently employing approximately 19,000 people in the UK and will likely grow its British workforce to 24,000 by the end of the year.
Regarding the Cambridge-based Development Center itself, Amazon didn't share many details on its future operations, though a company representative clarified that the aforementioned drone research will be conducted as part of the firm's efforts to revolutionize delivery services. The same is likely at least partially true for all AI-related research that will be carried out in the same facilities. An update on Amazon's UK operations is expected to follow later this year.