Amazon has laid off dozens of employees working on its Prime Air drone delivery program as part of a team restructuring effort.
The eCommerce behemoth has been aiming to use unmanned drone delivery technology for enabling delivery within 30 minutes to millions of its customers. In August this year, the company received Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) approval to test commercial deliveries in rural areas in the country.
“We are reorganizing one small team within our larger Prime Air organization to allow us to best align with the needs of our customers and the business,” said Kristen Kish, an Amazon spokeswoman.
At the time of its FAA approval, Amazon had noted that it expected its MK27 drones to be capable of delivering up to 85 percent of the products it sells to a variety of customer locations using designated drop-off points.
As part of its restructuring effort, the company laid off employees from the R&D and manufacturing department of the Prime Air project. The company has also reached tentative deals with two manufacturing companies, Austria’s FACC Aerospace and Spain’s Aernnova Aerospace, to help build parts for its Prime Air drone, according to Reuters.
Amazon’s competitor Walmart is similarly working on its own drone delivery program. In September, Walmart began testing on-demand delivery of select grocery and essential household items in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Walmart is taking a unique approach to speeding up the rollout of its drone delivery program. The company is partnering with other drone companies that already have FAA certifications instead of developing its own drones, which is likely to save the company significant time and resources.