Up to 4 million American households will be able to order food, groceries, and supplies from Walmart and have them delivered by flying, remote-controlled drones.
Walmart announced that its delivery service, in collaboration with the operator DroneUp, will be launched in six states by the end of the year, making it the country’s first large-scale drone delivery program.
According to the firm, parts of Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah, and Virginia could receive more than 1 million packages by drone each year.
According to the idea of “if it fits securely, it flies.”
Walmart will charge $3.99 for each delivery with a weight limit of up to 10 pounds.
The business didn’t say how a massively increased number of drones would deal with airspace concerns or potential conflicts with other operators, or how they’d be fueled.
Drone delivery, according to some observers, could be a more energy-efficient form of home delivery than fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, while also potentially decreasing urban air pollution.
Many cities around the world now allow human-guided robot delivery vehicles to use sidewalks to deliver food and supplies as an example of “last-mile logistics,” primarily for fresh food delivery.
Walmart’s drone project broadens the range of products that can be delivered by air. According to the company, it will offer up to 100,000 different products in a variety of categories, ranging from detergent to batteries to snacks.
The retail giant is in a race to develop drone deliveries with other major e-commerce giants, including Amazon.
It believes that its massive advantage in physical stores – over 4,700, with more than nine out of ten Americans living within 10 miles of an outlet – will give it a competitive advantage.
Looking for a new job? Find the WhatJobs Career Advice Center here
Although the number of stores fulfilling drone deliveries will rise to just 37 (Walmart already has a few drone delivery stores near its headquarters), the expanded plan represents a major rollout.
Customer orders will be packaged in stores and flown by a remote pilot to a front yard or driveway, where they will be lowered to the ground using a cable.
Despite the fact that the early pilot projects primarily delivered household essentials and at-home Covid-19 test kits,
Walmart said its research showed that customers did not view drone delivery as solely for emergencies. It stated that Hamburger Helper was the most popular delivery item in one location.