Walmart has jumped on the drone delivery bandwagon and is hoping to use them to get orders to its customers within an hour.
The store will only deliver medical and health products as part of the new project, working alongside medical product delivery company Zipline.
Walmart will begin trialling in the new venture early next year, around the area of its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Zipline’s launch and release system is said to be able to service a 50-mile radius, with the drones being able to carry up to four pounds of cargo and fly at speeds up to 80mph.
As good as it would be for the Monica Gellers of America to receive an emergency label maker within an hour, it’s definitely a sensible idea from the two companies to prioritise medical and healthcare products.
Tom Ward, Walmart’s senior vice president of customer product, told CNBC:
We’ll never stop looking into and learning about what the next best technology is and how we can use it to better serve our customers now and into the future.
Zipline operates the world’s largest drone delivery and largely focuses on the delivery of on-demand medical supplies. Beginning in 2016 in Rwanda, the company has safely delivered more than 200,000 critical medical products to thousands of health facilities, serving more than 20 million people across multiple countries.
Walmart has already started trialling drone deliveries in North Carolina this week, in partnership with an Israeli drone company, Mashable reports.
While it’s a great idea, Walmart and Zipline need to pick up the pace, as Amazon Prime Air is promising deliveries to customers in just 30 minutes.
The e-commerce company received the green light from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) last month, having been issued a Part 153 certificate to ‘safely and efficiently deliver packages to customers’.
David Carbon, vice president of Prime Air, told CNBC:
This certification is an important step forward for Prime Air and indicates the FAA’s confidence in Amazon’s operating and safety procedures for an autonomous drone delivery service that will one day deliver packages to our customers around the world.
The FAA approval had been a long time coming for Amazon, which first began testing drones in 2013. The company submitted the petition for the administration’s approval last year, stating it would conduct the deliveries with lightweight packages in areas of low population density.
While these ideas are all good, I’ll only be interested when they start delivering pizzas by drone.
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