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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Walmart to Expand Delivery Mechanism via The Aerial Route

Walmart Inc. has joined Drone LLC, a startup to offer deliveries via the aerial route. It will start delivering items that range from children’s thermometers to cans of Tuna. 

As per Bloomberg news, Walmart will start delivering from a base outside its Farmington Walmart store and cover 1.15 miles or 1.85 kilometers at the beginning. Later it will also start from other Walmart locations in Arkansas like Rogers and headquarters at Bentonville.

The company said in a statement that Walmart’s eventual goal would be to provide long-distance services.   

CEO Tom Walker of DroneUp LLC said in an interview that this was a significant step for their industry and also the retail industry

Amid online shopping, this new form of delivery is looked at seriously by the retail industry, as seen by Walmart’s announcement, though widespread routine deliveries by robotic drones are still some years away. 

United Parcel Service Inc. has begun pilot drone deliveries. Last month, Alphabet Inc.’s subsidiary Wing LLC announced using its small aircraft to deliver goods from a Suburban Dallas Walgreens store. Amazon.com Inc. is also developing its services called Prime Air.  

The efforts on this front have been limited so far as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is working on regulations that will oversee longer flights and develop low-altitude air traffic systems that can guide the aircraft safely for delivery purposes. 

In the DroneUp-Walmart partnership, the delivery aircraft must be observed and kept in sight all the time by a Drone Operator as the company was granted a waiver by FAA last June.

Senior Vice President of Walmart, Tom Ward, said in a Press release, “We are getting great reviews from customers at the Farmington, Arkansas site and look forward to starting deliveries from new locations.” 

Walker says that on November 15, four cans of Tuna fish were delivered in the inaugural service. The company charges $10 for each delivery but is also working on lowering costs by improving efficiency. 

Walmart had invested in DroneUp in early 2021. They are also looking at experimenting with other aerial delivery service providers. Zipline unveiled a new service in the health and wellness sector last week. They deliver non-prescription medication and diapers on-demand to customers in Pea Ridge, Arkansas.

Last year, Walmart had teamed up with an Israeli Startup to deliver via drones’ household and grocery items from its North Carolina store in Fayetteville. 

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Josie Patra
Josie Patra is a veteran writer with 21 years of experience. She comes with multiple degrees in literature, computer applications, multimedia design, and management. She delves into a plethora of niches and offers expert guidance on finances, stock market, budgeting, marketing strategies, and such other domains. Josie has also authored books on management, productivity, and digital marketing strategies.

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