Walmart expands drone delivery programme to reach 4 million households

Walmart is expanding its drone delivery service to 34 sites by the end the year, providing the potential to reach 4 million US households across six states – Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

The move provides the ability to deliver over one million packages by drone in a year.

Between the hours of 8am and 8pm, customers will be able to order from tens of thousands of eligible items for delivery by air in as little as 30 minutes. The total weight of delivery is up to 10lbs and the fee is $3.99.

Walmart currently offers drone deliveries through its partnership with DroneUp from a few stores near its headquarters in northwest Arkansas and in North Carolina.

The retail giant is also planning to scale its drone infrastructure, offering local businesses and municipalities aerial drone solutions in areas like insurance, emergency response and real estate.

READ MORE: Delivery drones: dystopian or the future of ecommerce delivery?

Participating stores will house a DroneUp delivery hub inclusive of a team of certified pilots, operating within FAA guidelines, that safely manage flight operations for deliveries.

Once a customer places an order, the item is fulfilled from the store, packaged, loaded into the drone and delivered right to their yard using a cable that gently lowers the package.

“After completing hundreds of deliveries within a matter of months across our existing DroneUp hubs, we’ve seen first-hand how drones can offer customers a practical solution for getting certain items, fast,” Walmart US senior vice president of innovation and automation David Guggina said.

“More importantly, we’ve seen a positive response from our customers that have used the service.”

“In fact, while we initially thought customers would use the service for emergency items, we’re finding they use it for its sheer convenience, like a quick fix for a weeknight meal. Case in point: the top selling item at one of our current hubs is Hamburger Helper.”

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