Walmart and Zipline Team Up to Launch First-Ever Drone Delivery Service
- by Chandler James
BENTONVILLE, AR - There are some who dream up highways full of flying cars, and there are others who sweep dreams aside to meet the future halfway. Walmart is a prime example of the latter, continuously breaking barriers to bring new innovations to the market. While the prevalence of flying cars may still be far off, there is one technological advancement that the retailer is working to perfect: drones. Walmart officially announced the pilot for its drone program last week, and this week has entered into a first-ever partnership with Zipline to kick its drone delivery operation into overdrive.
“Zipline will operate from a Walmart store and can service a 50-mile radius, which is about the size of the state of Connecticut,” said Tom Ward, Senior Vice President of Customer Product at Walmart, in a company statement released earlier this week. “And, not only does its launch and release system allow for quick on-demand delivery in under an hour, but it also eliminates carbon emissions, which lines up perfectly with our sustainability goals. The operation will likely begin early next year, and, if successful, we’ll look to expand.”
According to the press release, this alliance is the first of its kind in the U.S., with trial deliveries set to take place near Walmart’s headquarters in Northwest Arkansas using Zipline’s proprietary technology. Zipline operates one of the world’s largest drone networks, positioning Walmart to launch its program on a national scale.
The news of this partnership comes just after Walmart announced its team up with end-to-end drone delivery company Flytrex as the two set out to explore on-demand drone delivery. The pilot launched last week in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and will focus on delivering select grocery items from Walmart stores.
“We know that it will be some time before we see millions of packages delivered via drone,” Ward said in last week’s statement. “That still feels like a bit of science fiction, but we’re at a point where we’re learning more and more about the technology that is available and how we can use it to make our customers’ lives easier.”
The retail industry is on a fast track to the future, and you won’t want to be left behind. Keep checking in on reports from AndNowUKnow to stay up to date with the latest.