Walmart has officially launched deliveries by air. That’s right, drones are flying around Northwest Arkansas dropping packages, It’s a bizarre scene in the ozark as America’s largest retailer, and one of the world’s largest companies is breaking ground yet again.
Walmart will transport goods like cough medicine, thermometers, and other health related products via drone to Arkansas customers who live within a 1.15 mile radius from a base outside a store in Farmington, Arkansas.
The service will operate seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Walmart’s drone delivery option comes via a partnership with DroneUp, a startup out of Virginia that provides drone technology and services.
According to Walmart, flight engineers will control and guide each deliver to ensure the order arrives safely.
The service will be expanded to two larger cities in the Northwest Arkansas metro which is one of the fastest growing in the nation. Rogers, AR and Bentonville, AR will be added next in the coming months.
Walmart says it eventually plans to provide the service over longer distances.
“When we invested in DroneUp earlier this year, we envisioned a drone delivery operation that could be quickly executed and replicated across multiple stores,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president of last mile at Walmart. “Opening our first hub within months of our initial concept showcases DroneUp’s ability to safely execute drone delivery operations with speed.”
The announcement marks the first multi-site commercial drone delivery service, Walmart has a longer history with drones.
The retailer in 2020 first experimented with drones to provide Covid-19 testing kits to customers homes. That partnership was done with the help of Quest Diagnostics and DroneUp. Walmart was able to deliver within a 1-mile radius in North Las Vegas and Cheektowaga, New York to the backyards of customers homes.
Amazon, Alphabet, and UPS are all reportedly among other companies looking to join Walmart in aerial delivery options.