U.S. Retailer Walmart to Make Drone Delivery Expansion

Drone companies Wing and Zipline are approved for BVLOS flight by the FAA, and focus on speed, safety and sustainability to provide on-demand drone delivery By Abi Wylie / 16 Jan 2024
U.S. Retailer Walmart to Make Drone Delivery Expansion
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Walmart has started offering drone delivery for up to 75% of the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) population. 

The company is building on its momentum with the largest drone delivery footprint of any U.S. retailer.

This drone delivery expansion includes stores across more than 30 towns and municipalities in the DFW metroplex, marking the first time a U.S. retailer has offered drone delivery to this many households in a single market. 

The deliveries will be powered by on-demand drone delivery providers, Wing and Zipline. Both are approved by the FAA to fly their drones without a dedicated observer being able to see the drone at all times, known as Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS), which will enable drone delivery to more Texans than ever before.

Working closely with drone experts like Wing and Zipline that focus on speed, safety and sustainability, Walmart aims to serve customers no matter how or when they want to shop.

Wing delivers packages directly from businesses to homes in minutes, providing customers a fast and convenient way to get what they need, when they need it. 

With four years of commercial residential service in the U.S. and on three continents, and a network approach to scaled drone delivery similar to efficient rideshares, Wing is working to deliver people’s packages more efficiently and safely as part of an automated logistics system that routinely moves packages by the millions.

Zipline is reportedly the world’s largest autonomous delivery company that helps health systems, restaurants and retailers provide fast, precise and convenient deliveries. With Zipline’s drone delivery network, businesses can offer a magical delivery experience, reach more customers, increase revenue and improve operational efficiency. 

Since 2016, Zipline has flown more than 60 million commercial autonomous miles and delivered millions of products, including more than 13 million vaccine doses. The company currently completes a commercial delivery every 70 seconds and has operations on four continents.

Drone delivery gives customers an even faster delivery option, getting items to them in 30 minutes or less, and some deliveries can happen as fast as 10 minutes. 

This is an addition to other speedy delivery methods like Express Delivery in three hours or less, Late-Night Delivery until 10 p.m. and InHome – with an option for delivery directly to a customer’s refrigerator – ensuring customers have what they want, when and how they want it.

Over the last two years trialing drone delivery, Walmart has completed over 20,000 safe deliveries. The company has seen customers use drone service for many reasons, including when they need an item in a pinch, like over the counter cold medicine, or simply because it’s convenient.

Drones can also deliver several items at a time, such as supplies for a movie night at home, a last-minute birthday gift or ingredients for baking cookies, including fragile items like eggs.  

Wing CEO Adam Woodworth said; “Our first few months delivering to Walmart customers have made it clear: Demand for drone delivery is real. 

“The response has been incredible from customers ordering drone delivery from Walmart every day, and it’s a testament to our partnership that we’re now expanding our footprint to bring this innovative delivery option to millions of Texans. If this milestone is any indication, we believe 2024 is the year of drone delivery.”

Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, co-founder and CEO of Zipline, stated; “Autonomous delivery is finally ready for national scale in the U.S. Zipline is excited to enable Walmart’s vision of providing customer delivery so fast it feels like teleportation. 

“Walmart is leading the U.S. in using robotics and AI to help people save money and live better. We’re excited for folks across Dallas-Fort Worth to experience delivery that is 7x as fast, zero emissions and whisper quiet with our next-generation technology.”

Posted by Abi Wylie Connect & Contact
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