Walmart expands drone delivery to 4 million new homes

American supermarket chain is expanding its drone delivery service to reach four million new households in six states (really?). Together with its partner, DroneUp, Walmart expects to make more than a million drone deliveries per year. The cost to the customer is $4 per package, with a maximum weight of 10 pounds.

Walmart’s drone delivery expanded

As early as 2015, Walmart first thought about drone delivery as a new delivery method. The company did not actually start drone delivery until December 2021, in three cities in the US state of Arkansas. To this end, the retailer entered into a partnership earlier that year with the startup , which has a large network of certified drone pilots. They oversee the flights as long as fully autonomous flying is not yet allowed under American regulations.

With the expansion announced this week, Walmart plans to offer drone delivery at 34 locations in the states of , Arkansas, , Texas, Utah, and . In total, this concerns 4 million potential households. Customers can choose drone delivery as the delivery method between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Customers pay $4 per shipment. A maximum of 10 pounds of goods can be delivered. Packages are placed in the garden or on the driveway by means of a winch.

Walmart Expands Drone Delivery To 4 Million New Homes
A delivery drone takes off at a Walmart branch.

The convenience of drone deliveries is a key factor

According to a Walmart spokesperson, customers are reacting very enthusiastically to the innovative delivery method.

“We get a lot of positive feedback from customers who have used the service. While we initially thought customers would use the service for emergency supplies, we find that they use it purely for convenience, such as a quick fix for a weeknight meal. Example: The best-selling item on one of our current hubs is Hamburger Helper.”

To facilitate its large-scale expansion, Walmart relies on DroneUp’s network of more than 10,000 certified pilots to ship orders from select stores. Walmart expects to deliver more than a million orders per drone annually this way.

Other players

Walmart isn’t the only large-scale grower to see potential in drone delivery. Amazon was one of the first retailers to get serious about drone delivery. However, mismanagement caused a significant backlog. Furthermore, Google’s sister company, Wing, and the Irish company are preparing to become active in the US.

When it comes to drone deliveries, not everyone is convinced. For example, Bill Wimberley, Head of Business Development at , believes that there is definitely a market for delivering products from business to business, such as vaccine or blood sample deliveries, but he does not believe that using a drone to deliver packages from retailers such as Walmart to individuals would make any economic sense.

Please watch the video below for our entire interview with Bill for more on this, and be sure to let us know in the comments below what you think of drone delivery in general.

Walmart Expands Drone Delivery To 4 Million New Homes 1

This article first appeared on Dronewatch and is written by Wiebe de Jager who is also a DroneXL contributor.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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