Walmart launches drone delivery system for Arkansas customers
Walmart has launched an instant drone delivery system for customers who live within a 50-mile radius of its North Arkansas headquarters.
The retail giant has partnered with drone company Zipline to launch the new system that will provide on-demand delivery of health and wellness goods and consumables 50 miles from the Walmart Neighborhood Market in Pea Ridge, According to a press release.
Liam O’Connor, CEO of Zipline He told CBS News.
Zipline began operations in 2016, and to date has completed more than 200,000 deliveries of 4.5 million units of medical supplies serving more than 20 million people in several countries, the company said.
“We have done more than 220,000 commercial deliveries in overseas markets,” O’Connor said. “For us, the promise of ultra-fast delivery is really giving access to all kinds of communities for all kinds of products.”
Once Walmart receives an online order, the items will be placed inside a specially designed box with an attached canopy, according to CBS. Packages are checked and parachuted before being loaded onto a drone in the payload compartment. A battery is installed in the drone before it is launched for delivery from a 25-foot-tall platform designed specifically for the aircraft.
The drone leaves for the customer’s home before the package is delivered and back to the launch site. The company said customers can track their packages through the Zipline app.
The service will be free while Walmart and Zipline collect customer feedback from the service.
Walmart and Zipline hope to expand nationwide after a successful test run.
“If our customers enjoy the service, we’ll be scaling it up, so in future vacations this will probably play a really nice role in speeding things up,” Tom Ward, who manages Walmart’s Last Mile delivery, told CBS.
“Customers expect us to save them money, they need us to save time, and when it comes to saving time what better way to do that than with a drone,” Ward said.
Walmart and Zipline hope to expand nationwide after a successful test run. In the statement, the company said Walmart has expanded its delivery service to 3,000 of its 10,500 stores in the past three years, to reach 70 percent of the US population.