If you live near Walmart’s North Las Vegas store, then a Covid-19 test could be flying its way to your home by drone, reports edition.cnn.com. The supermarket chain launched a drone delivery trial program this week that drops off Covid-19 tests to properties within a one-mile radius of its Vegas store.
Customers receive a text from DroneUp when the Quest Diagnostics test kit is on its way. And depending on where there are cars and trees, the kits will land on people’s driveways, front sidewalks or backyard. Delivery, which can take as little as five minutes, is free. The samples are then sent via FedEx to a Quest lab, which send out results digitally. Test results usually arrive in two days.
Tom Ward, Walmart’s Senior Vice President of consumer products, wrote in a blog post, “We hope drone delivery of self-collection kits will shape contactless testing capabilities on a larger scale and continue to bolster the innovative ways Walmart plans to use drone delivery in the future.”
But there are limitations to the program. Drone deliveries are only available “while supplies last,” between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm and to only single-family homes. Also, despatches can be prevented by “unanticipated physical barriers, power lines, trees, cars or weather.” So, if you need a Covid-19 test on a windy rainy day, it probably won’t come via drone. To keep “failed deliveries” to a minimum, Quest Diagnostics have explained that delivery areas will be “surveyed in real time” beforehand.
Walmart plans to expand the drone trial to Cheektowaga, New York, just outside Buffalo, in early October, but no other sites have been announced yet. Meanwhile, last week, Quest and Walmart announced that Covid-19 tests can now be conducted at more than 500 Walmart drive-thru pharmacy locations in the United States.
Earlier this month, Walmart launched a drone pilot program with Flytrex to deliver household and grocery items to customers in Fayetteville, North Carolina. And next year Walmart plans to begin a separate drone program with Zipline to deliver health and wellness programs to customers near the retail giant’s headquarters in Northwest Arkansas.
(News Source: https://edition.cnn.com)