US retailer Walmart plans to expand its DroneUp delivery network to 34 sites by the end of the year, with the potential to reach four million US households across six states; Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
This will provide the retailer with the ability to deliver over one million packages by drone per year, the retailer said. For a delivery fee of $3.99, Walmart customers can order eligible items weighing up to 4.5 kilograms for delivery by air in 30 minutes.
After the completion a test period, wherein the chain carried out hundreds of deliveries across its existing DroneUp hubs, the group was convinced of the practicality of drone delivery.
Participating stores will house a DroneUp delivery hub, inclusive of a team of certified pilots operating within US Federal Aviation Administration guidelines, who safely manage flight operations for deliveries.
Once a customer places an order, the item is taken from the store, packaged, loaded into the drone, and delivered to the collection address using a cable that lowers the package.
Walmart says DroneUp’s experience will allow it to scale with speed while maintaining a high calibre of safety and quality.