Walmart first partnered with DroneUp — operator of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) — last year and launched a pilot program to deliver at-home COVID-19 self-collection kits.
“The trial demonstrated we could offer customers delivery in minutes versus hours. Now, after safely completing hundreds of drone deliveries from Walmart stores, we’re making an investment in DroneUp to continue our work toward developing a scalable last-mile delivery solution, John Furner, CEO and president of Walmart U.S., said in a press release on Thursday (June 17).
Furner said Walmart is “uniquely positioned” to advance drone deliveries because of the retailer’s expansive footprint — over 4,700 stores nationwide — plus, 90 percent of the population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart location. He said Walmart’s investment in DroneUp will apply to flying and ground delivery. The first official operation is being launched at a Walmart store in Bentonville, Arkansas.