Walmart is set to edge ahead of its key rival Amazon in the race for drone delivery supremacy, filing nearly twice as many patents over the past year.
According to data from accounting firm BDO, Walmart has filed for 97 new drone patents with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) since July last year, significantly more than the 57 it made in the previous year.
It is also nearly double the 54 patents its key online rival Amazon made in each of the past two years.
Despite falling behind in terms of patents Amazon has seemingly made more solid progress, announcing earlier this month that it would begin making drone deliveries in “the coming months”, after becoming the second company in history to secure a permission from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin carrying out deliveries.
In the year to June 2018 global drone patents filed with WIPO rose 34 per cent, and Walmart’s 57 patents over that period outpaced that of the entire UK.
Despite both companies ramping up their drone efforts, they are still dwarfed by developments in China, which saw roughly 6000 patents filed in the same period, compared to the US’ 2045.
This is just one battleground in which the increasing rivalry between the two companies is being played out, as both contend to outdo the other’s rapid delivery network.
Walmart has now launched a “Delivery Unlimited” offering, a subscription service looking to rival Amazon’s Prime offering, allowing customers to pay $12.95 per month for free deliveries across its network.