Walmart, an American supermarket chain, has begun an experiment in which orders are delivered to customers via drone. To that end, Walmart has joined forces with the startup DroneUp. The drone deliveries will be tested in three different locations throughout the state of Arkansas. Customers can receive thousands of items from Walmart’s offer in less than a half-hour.
Walmart begins experimenting with drone deliveries in Arkansas
Walmart appears to be the fourth party with serious plans in the field of drone deliveries in the supermarket sector, following Google sister company Wing, E-Commergigant Amazon, and Irish company Manna Aero. However, unlike Amazon, Walmart does not choose to develop the technology itself, but rather to purchase it from a third party: earlier this year, Walmart invested in the Startup DroneUp, which not only provides the hardware, but also the platform through which the orders are placed.
The experiment with drone deliveries has begun in the town of Farmington, which has a population of fewer than 4,000 people. Rogers and Bentonville are later added to the test program. Customers in Farmington, according to a Walmart spokesperson, are already very excited about the new delivery method.
Drone deliveries in less than 30 minutes
Customers can use the new delivery method by ordering through a specially designed website, DroneUpDelivery.com. Orders can be placed after confirming that the delivery address is within the drones’ caretaking area (within a one-mile radius of the participating Walmart stores). They will then be delivered within 30 minutes.
Store employees pack the orders in packaging designed specifically for this purpose. Then, a DroneUp operator ensures that the package is flown to the correct address. The order will be delivered using a tether to drop off the package in the backyard. An order’s maximum weight is 3 Lbs. When there is inclement weather, the drone delivery method will be temporarily disabled.
About the Walmart and DroneUp partnership
Walmart has over 4,700 stores in the United States, with over 120,000 items in stock. 90 percent of Americans live within a 15-kilometer radius of a Walmart location. Drones, according to Walmart, provide a high level of flexibility and speed at a low cost. Furthermore, the delivery method has the potential to replace gasoline-powered delivery vans.
DroneUp works with more than 20,000 drone pilots worldwide to enable drone deliveries. In the United States, the company has more than 190 FAA permits and exemptions to deliver packages using drones.
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