Soon enough, drone and robot sightings will be a regular occurrence for many U.S. consumers. Walmart is one retailer piloting the technology for grocery delivery, having partnered with service provider DroneUp last year to trial the delivery of COVID-19 self-collection kits. Now, the retailer is investing in this partnership once again.
“The trial demonstrated we could offer customers delivery in minutes versus hours,” wrote John Furner, Chief Executive Officer and President, in a company release. “Now, after safely completing hundreds of drone deliveries from Walmart stores, we’re making an investment in DroneUp to continue our work toward developing a scalable last-mile delivery solution.”
The release went on to note that DroneUp’s delivery network matches a database of over 10,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-certified pilots. The service provider was one of the first to leverage a FAA 107.39 waiver, allowing flight of the drones in public spaces.
“Walmart already has a significant part of the infrastructure in place–4,700 stores stocked with more than 100,000 of the most-purchased items, located within 10 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population,” Furner continued. “This makes us uniquely positioned to execute drone deliveries, which is why our investment in DroneUp won’t just apply to the skies but also the ground. In the coming months we’ll be beginning our first operation at a store in Bentonville, Arkansas.”
Furner concluded by emphasizing that the scale up of such deliveries is in reach. Walmart will use its logistics innovation to align with DroneUp and make that vision a reality.
Until then, Deli Market News will be here keeping you up to date on the latest.