Walmart U.S. has announced itis expanding its DroneUp delivery network to 34 sites by the end the year, providing the potential to reach 4 million U.S. households across six states – Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia. This will see the delivery of over 1 million packages by drone in a year.
Between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., customers can order items for delivery by air in as little as 30 minutes. For a delivery fee of $3.99, customers can order items totalling up to 10 pounds.
“After completing hundreds of deliveries within a matter of months across our existing DroneUp hubs, we’ve seen firsthand how drones can offer customers a practical solution for getting certain items, fast. More importantly, we’ve seen a positive response from our customers that have used the service. In fact, while we initially thought customers would use the service for emergency items, we’re finding they use it for its sheer convenience, like a quick fix for a weeknight meal. Case in point: The top-selling item at one of our current hubs is Hamburger Helper.” said David Guggina, Senior Vice President of Innovation and Automation, Walmart U.S.
Participating stores will house a DroneUp delivery hub inclusive of a team of certified pilots, operating within FAA guidelines, that safely manage flight operations for deliveries. Once a customer places an order, the item is fulfilled from the store, packaged, loaded into the drone and delivered right to their yard using a cable that gently lowers the package.
“Walmart packages aren’t the only thing the drones will deliver. A core value at Walmart is to give back to the communities in which we operate, which is why as we scale our drone infrastructure, we’ll continue to influence the expansion of drone technology and enable other businesses to explore its benefits, too. This means DroneUp will offer local businesses and municipalities aerial drone solutions in areas like insurance, emergency response and real estate. For example, a local construction agency can work with DroneUp to monitor on-site job progress through aerial drone photography. Our founder Mr. Sam once said, ‘I have always been driven to buck the system, to innovate, to take things beyond where they’ve been.’ We’re doing just that with drone technology, making it a feasible solution that we know customers and communities will enjoy.” said Guggina.