Walmart expands drone delivery program to 4 million households

Walmart’s drones will be flying in six states soon after the retail chain announced plans to expand its DroneUp delivery program.

Customers in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia will benefit from the DroneUp expansion that Walmart announced on Tuesday.

The supermarket is currently offering drone delivery of selected items from stores near its headquarters in northwest Arkansas and North Carolina.

Now 4 million households can order packages by drone in 37 locations per year, many of which will be operated by Walmart’s technology partner, DroneUp.

Walmart announced a partnership with three tech companies: Flytrex, Zipline and DroneUp two years ago as a way to ship Covid-19 test kits and essentials to customers during the pandemic.

The company said in a press release it expects to order a million packages via drones next year after a successful attempt that surprised supermarket bosses.

“After completing hundreds of deliveries in a few months from our existing DroneUp hub, we saw firsthand how drones can provide a practical solution for quickly delivering specific items to our customers,” said Walmart.

While the company predicted that most customers would use drone deliveries for emergency items, including Covid-19 test kits, Walmart found that many use it “for sheer convenience, such as a quick fix for a weekday meal.”

According to Walmart, the most popular item the drone has ordered from one place is a hamburger meal kit.

Customers can order drones between 8am and 8pm, and thousands of items can be purchased for $3.99 shipping. The drone is piloted by a trained “pilot” to unload goods onto the customer’s property.

Other companies, including Amazon, have also tried drone deliveries, but the company’s Prime Air program hasn’t launched in the US or UK, where the first drone packages were made in Cambridge in 2016. The Verge.

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