By Chris Stonor
Walmart is launching three full-time “airport hubs” for on-demand delivery operations after teaming up with U.S Virginia-based drone start-up, DroneUp. The first operation has already taken flight at a Walmart Neighbourhood Market in Farmington, Arkansas, reports YouTube.
Walmart’s first multisite commercial drone delivery operations encompass three locations in Arkansas: Farmington, Rogers, and Bentonville. Of these, the Farmington location has already started to deliver items to eligible Walmart customers by air in as little as 30 minutes.
Orders are placed through droneupdelivery.com. First, visit the website and enter your address to verify eligibility. If Walmart’s drones are flying in your location (currently Farmington, Arkansas), you will be able to select from thousands of items for delivery.
Operators pack your order and secure the delivery box to a drone using a patented package release mechanism. Lastly, the flight engineer will manage a controlled and guided delivery, placing the order down at your home.
Walmart takes drone delivery operations very seriously after investing a major stake in DronUp earlier this year. The supermarket is in a very strong position with a last-mile delivery program in place with more than 4,700 stores stocked with 120,000 of the most purchased items located within 10 miles of over 90 percent of the US population. In addition, Walmart plans to allow small-town shops also to use its network of delivery drones through the GoLocal platform.
Tom Ward, Senior Vice President of last mile at Walmart US, explained, “Opening the first hub within months of our initial concept, showcases DroneUp’s ability to safely execute drone delivery operations with speed. We’re already hearing great customer feedback at our first site in Farmington, Arkansas, and look forward to opening additional locations.”
DroneUP CEO, Tom Walker, added, “This partnership provides an unrivalled ability to pick, pack, and deliver via drones directly from the store to consumers offering efficiencies no other retailer can match. We are proud of our team’s ability to deliver the technology helping Walmart launch a new era of commercial drone operations.”
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