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10/1/16

Britain: A Peek at the Secret English Farm Where Amazon Tests Its Drones - by Mark Scott

 After hours of searching, I pulled onto a dirt track here in the rolling hills of Cambridgeshire and spotted a small dot whirring across the blue sky, gently swaying in the breeze as it steadily flew about 200 feet above the ground.

Jackpot: It was an Amazon drone.

Barely visible to the naked eye, the unmarked aircraft, about the size of a large model plane, floated across a field about 1,000 yards in the distance, the lights on its four-pronged sensors flashing brightly against the afternoon sun.

Amazon, the giant e-commerce company, began secretly testing unmanned aircraft this summer at an undisclosed location in Britain (its largest outdoor test site, according to an Amazon executive). I set out to find the top secret site, wanting to see how we all may one day receive online deliveries.

In retrospect, signs of Amazon’s secret tests were hidden in plain sight.

There was the warning to pilots that unmanned aircraft would be flying in the area, about an hour north of London, until early October; the uncharacteristically fast cellphone reception in such a remote area — a must when processing drone data; and the growing list of jobs and openings at Amazon’s research and development site in Cambridge related to Prime Air, the company’s ambitious plan to use drones for everyday deliveries.

Read more: A Peek at the Secret English Farm Where Amazon Tests Its Drones - The New York Times

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