Walmart expands drone delivery service to 4 million homes

Walmart is expanding drone deliveries to select stores in six states. This makes it possible to deliver diapers, groceries or more by air to more customers.

Walmart

Walmart This year expands drone delivery to six states, making it possible for multiple customers to deliver diapers or dinner items in 30 minutes or less.

The big box retailer said it could reach 4 million homes in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia by expanding with operator DroneUp. Delivered by air from a total of 37 stores – TronUp operates in 34 stores.

Announced its plans for development in a blog post on Tuesday. Walmart currently offers drone deliveries from some stores near its headquarters in northwest Arkansas and North Carolina.

Walmart is experimenting with how small, unmanned aircraft can transform the game for retail, drive e-commerce growth and transform its stores into surpassing ones. Amazon At speed. Two years ago, that was Contracted with three operators – Flytrex, Zipline and DroneUp – and launched pilot projects to provide customers with groceries, home essentials and the Kovit-19 test kits at home. The company has refused to share the terms of the contracts.

The new type of delivery is an extension of Walmart’s strategy of using its largest physical trail as a competitive node. About 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of one of Walmart’s more than 4,700 stores. Through those stores, Walmart offers a growing list of fast online options, including Curbside Pickup; InHome, which delivers directly to customers’ refrigerators; And express delivery, which will deliver the goods to your doorstep in two hours or less.

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Customers who live within the boundaries of the Walmart Drone Delivery site can order thousands of items from 8am to 8pm, with a charge of $ 3.99 per drone delivery. Customers can order items up to 10 in total.

Each order will be picked up, packaged and loaded into the store, and will be flown remotely by a certified pilot to the customer’s yard or driveway. Slowly lower a cable set in the drone.

Orders must be placed DroneUp’s website Or through the websites of the other two operators. Walmart says it plans to eventually add the ability to order on its own website and processor.

With a large network of sites, Walmart can deliver more than 1 million packages by drone a year, said David Kukina, senior vice president of Walmart U.S. Innovation and Automation in a blog post.

One of the surprises of drone tests is that customers order, he added. Walmart expects customers to receive emergency supplies using drones, i.e. over-the-counter medications, Kukina said. Instead many have used it for convenience, he said. For example, in a store, the best seller for drone delivery is a hamburger helper.

Other items frequently delivered by drone include batteries, garbage bags, laundry detergent and Welch fruit snacks, the company said.

Walmart will use drones to make money in another way. It said it plans to cover the cost of delivery by selling the photos taken by the drones to municipalities and local businesses such as construction or real estate companies. Revenue will be shared with the drone operator.

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