The future is here, and Walmart is running to meet it. A stunning new innovation is on the horizon as the retailer debuts its drone delivery operation with first-ever partner, Zipline.
“Zipline will operate from a Walmart store and can service a 50-mile radius, which is about the size of the state of Connecticut,” said Tom Ward, Senior Vice President of Customer Product at Walmart, in a company statement released earlier this week. “And, not only does its launch and release system allow for quick on-demand delivery in under an hour, but it also eliminates carbon emissions, which lines up perfectly with our sustainability goals. The operation will likely begin early next year, and, if successful, we’ll look to expand.”
The alliance between Zipline and Walmart is the first of its kind in the U.S., the press release noted. Trial deliveries are already set to take place near Walmart’s headquarters in Northwest Arkansas using Zipline’s proprietary technology. Given Zipline’s extensive drone network, this positions Walmart to launch the program on a national scale.
Walmart announced earlier this month that it was partnering with end-to-end drone delivery company Flytrex to explore on-demand drone delivery. The pilot launched last week in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and will focus on delivering select grocery items from Walmart stores.
“We know that it will be some time before we see millions of packages delivered via drone,” Ward said in last week’s statement. “That still feels like a bit of science fiction, but we’re at a point where we’re learning more and more about the technology that is available and how we can use it to make our customers’ lives easier.”
How will these new innovations drive future retail technology and competition? Deli Market News will be here to report.