Walmart to ramp up drone delivery service

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This year, Walmart plans to roll out DroneUp drone delivery for online orders in six states, allowing the retailer to serve 4 million homes through the service.

In a tuesday blog postDavid Guggina, senior vice president of innovation and automation for Walmart US, said Walmart aims to expand DroneUp delivery to 34 locations in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia by end of 2022. This will give the Bentonville, Ark-based retail giant .the ability to deliver more than one million packages by drone each year. (Click here to see the Walmart video of the DroneUp delivery.)

Guggina noted that Walmart has been working on drone delivery for the past year. Last June, Walmart’s U.S. CEO John Furner said Walmart made an undisclosed investment in DroneUp after conducting a delivery pilot with the Virginia Beach, Va.-based drone flight service provider. in 2020. Previously, Walmart and DroneUp made trial deliveries of COVID-19. home test kits, which Walmart says demonstrated that drones could deliver in minutes rather than hours.

Then, in November, Walmart announced its first commercial DroneUp delivery for online customers in Northwest Arkansas, starting with a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Farmington, then launching the service at a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Rogers and a Walmart Supercenter in Bentonville.

“After making hundreds of deliveries over a few months to our existing DroneUp hubs, we’ve seen firsthand how drones can offer customers a convenient solution to getting certain items, quickly,” Guggina said in the blog. “Most importantly, we have seen a positive response from our customers who have used the service. In fact, while we initially thought customers would use the service for emergency items, we’re seeing that they’re using it for its convenience, like a quick fix for a weekday meal. Example: The top-selling item in one of our current hubs is Hamburger Helper.

Participating Walmart stores will house a DroneUp Delivery Center with a team of certified drone pilots who safely handle delivery flight operations in accordance with FAA guidelines. After a customer places an order, the item is shipped from the store, packed, loaded into the drone, and delivered to their doorstep using a cable that gently lowers the package.

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To execute drone flight operations, participating Walmart stores will have a DroneUp delivery center with a team of certified drone pilots.

Customers place their drone delivery orders at droneupdelivery.com. Through the service, operating from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., shoppers can order tens of thousands of items — such as Tylenol, diapers and hot dog buns — for airlift delivery in just 30 minutes, according to Guggina. Shipping costs $3.99 for an order of up to 10 books.

“The customer has always been our top priority at Walmart, and we seek partners who are as customer-experience-focused as we are,” Guggina said. “DroneUp has been a reliable partner as we have tested this solution, and their capabilities will allow our business to scale quickly while maintaining a high level of security and quality.”

As the partnership with DroneUp grows, Walmart expects to be able to provide drone delivery to other businesses as well. The retailer has already launched Walmart GoLocala white label “delivery as a service” that offers its e-commerce and logistics capabilities to other businesses, including small and large retailers.

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DroneUp drones can carry an order of up to 10 pounds, according to Walmart.

“Walmart packages aren’t the only thing drones deliver. A core value at Walmart is giving back to the communities in which we operate, which is why, as we grow our drone infrastructure, we will continue to influence the expansion of drone technology and enable others companies to explore its benefits as well,” says Guggina. “This means DroneUp will offer local businesses and municipalities aerial drone solutions in areas such as insurance, emergency response and real estate. For example, a local construction agency can work with DroneUp to monitor the progress of on-site work through drone aerial photography Not only will the additional revenue help offset the cost of delivery, but it will also serve the entire drone industry by collecting more flight data as we work together to expand drone operations in a safe and regulated way.

DroneUp operates commercially nationwide and is an authorized government drone service provider for 11 states, where it serves public sector organizations. Walmart noted that DroneUp’s on-demand drone delivery network includes a database of more than 10,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-certified pilots, and the company was the first operator to use the FAA 107.39 waiver. , an operation that allows delivery flights over moving people and vehicles.

“We will be able to deploy a drone for aerial inspection or rapidly deploy drones for first responder or public safety support in a way that was not available before,” said DroneUp CEO and Founder Tom Walker. . DroneLife. “These hubs will be equipped and ready to operate, with the ability to launch a drone in one minute.”

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