Walmart Begins Testing Drone Deliveries For Groceries, Household Items

Walmart Drone Deliveries
Image: Mollyrose89, Wikimedia Commons

Walmart started making its first drone deliveries by launching a small pilot program in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Flytrex, and Israeli startup will operate the drones, which will deliver select grocery and household items, the retailer said.

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“Years ago, our founder Sam Walton famously said, ‘I have always been driven to buck the system, to innovate, to take things beyond where they’ve been.’ It remains a guiding principle at Walmart to this day. From being an early pioneer of universal bar codes and electronic scanning cash registers to our work on autonomous vehicle delivery, we’re working to understand how these technologies can impact the future of our business and help us better serve our customers,” wrote Tom Ward, Senior Vice President, Customer Product, Walmart.

Carrying up to 6.6 pounds (roughly “6-8 hamburgers”), each of the drones can fly at speeds of 32 mph and travel 6.2 miles in a round trip.

Walmart store
Walmart Corporate from Bentonville, USA (Image: Walmart store exterior, Wikimedia Commons)

The drone lowers packages to the ground from 80 feet in the air rather than having to land itself. Last year, FAA gave Flytrex approval to fly the drones to test food deliveries in North Carolina.

Walmart is among a very few retailers whose saw their sales soar during the pandemic amid a surge in e-commerce. The company’s online sales nearly doubled in its most recent quarter, while same-store sales rose 9%.

The company has accelerated the expansion of its pick-up and delivery services in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, as virus-wary consumers increasingly prefer having items delivered at their doorsteps.

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“We know that it will be some time before we see millions of packages delivered via drone. That still feels like a bit of science fiction, but we’re at a point where we’re learning more and more about the technology that is available and how we can use it to make our customers’ lives easier,” Ward said.

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Cathy Russey () is Online Editor at WT | Wearable Technologies and specialized in writing about the latest medical wearables and enabling technologies on the market. Cathy can be contacted at info(at)wearable-technologies.com.