Walmart has partnered with drone-maker Zipline to launch a drone delivery service for residents in Northwest Arkansas.
The program is the first commercial drone delivery launched by Walmart and its biggest investment in the technology to date, having trialled it previously in North Carolina and Texas.
The service will operate seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm, allowing residents of Pea Ridge, Arkansas to order a number of health-related goods including cough medicine, thermometers, bandages, and ibuprofen.
Orders are placed through the Zipline app, collected by Walmart employees, and handed to Zipline staff who prepare the drone to launch.
Walmart and Zipline have designed a “first-of-its-kind’ 12 metre platform located at the back of the store, which serves as the infrastructure for drone take-offs and landings.
The retail corporation is aiming to expand and grow the service as more data is collected from the scheme.
“Zipline’s autonomous aircraft present an incredible opportunity to offer customers an on-demand delivery option for the items they need now, such as a thermometer, non-prescription medication or an emergency pack of diapers,” Walmart Last Mile Delivery senior vice president Tom Ward said.
“Even more, Zipline’s aircraft can help provide immediate access to needed items for both hard-to-reach and at-risk populations, such as rural communities and elderly customers.
“By bringing this game-changing technology to the rural community of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, we’re continuing to look for ways to make shopping with Walmart convenient and easy – for everyone.”