US retailer Walmart plans to expand its DroneUp delivery network to 34 sites by the end of the year, with the potential to reach four million US households across six states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
This will provide the retailer with the ability to deliver over one million packages by drone per year, the retailer said.
Walmart’s Drone Delivery Service
Between the hours of 8am and 8pm, Walmart customers will be able to order tens of thousands of eligible items – such as OTC medicines, baby care products, and hot-dog buns – for delivery by air in 30 minutes.
For a delivery fee of $3.99, customers can order items weighing up to ten pounds (4.5 kilograms).
After the completion a test period, wherein the chain carried out hundreds of deliveries across its existing DroneUp hubs, the group was convinced of the practicality of drone delivery.
Walmart’s customers have also benefitted from the service and begun to use the drones to deliver both emergency and convenience items, the retailer said.
DroneUp Delivery Hub
Participating stores will house a DroneUp delivery hub, inclusive of a team of certified pilots operating within FAA guidelines, who safely manage flight operations for deliveries.
Once a customer places an order, the item is taken from the store, packaged, loaded into the drone, and delivered to his/her address using a cable that lowers the package.
Walmart believes that its partner DroneUp’s experience will allow the retailer to scale with speed while maintaining a high calibre of safety and quality.
Through its work with the retailer, DroneUp will also offer local businesses and municipalities aerial drone solutions in areas like insurance, emergency response, and property.
For example, a local construction agency can work with DroneUp to monitor on-site job progress through aerial drone photography.