Is drone delivery really here for Walmart and Amazon?
After a successful three-store pilot program, Walmart has launched an aerial drone delivery service in a handful of markets, with plans to expand soon to six states.
Walmart shoppers in cities such as Dallas, Orlando, Phoenix and Tampa can now order products and have them delivered via drone delivery within 30 minutes, with a $3.99 per order price tag, according to Eat This, Not That.
Customers can choose from tens of thousands of goods, including fragile items like eggs, with a limit of 10 pounds per flight, according to Supermarket News.
A demo video from last year made in conjunction with DroneUp shows a package being lowered from a drone to a customer’s front lawn using an automated claw, not unlike a mechanism from an entertainment arcade.
Pre-pandemic, major tech players and logistics companies were working on developing drone delivery to help meet the emerging customer demand for faster last-mile delivery. Amazon and Google obtained patents on numerous drone-related innovations, and in 2017 UPS began testing a delivery truck that acted as a mobile drone base, to deliver packages in the vicinity of where the truck was parked.
Concerns over safety and privacy, however, have continually been voiced as the technology has gone through the pilot stage.
In April of this year, Amazon experienced a huge setback with drone delivery when one of its pilot drones crashed, causing a 25-acre brush fire. At that point the drone program had been in development for 10 years with an investment of $2 billion behind it.
Nonetheless, a representative of Amazon Prime Air in November told CNBC that the company’s aerial drones are slated to begin making deliveries by the end of 2022. The first markets in which Prime Air planned to launch drone delivery are College Station, TX and Locekford, CA. The Amazon drones are programmed to fly to a destination, descend to a height of 12 feet, scan the area for obstacles and, if it deems the area empty, drop the package.
- Walmart Is Launching Grocery Delivery Drones In 6 States — And They Won’t Break Your Eggs – Eat This, Not That
- Walmart drone delivery lands in Texas – Supermarket News
- DroneUp & Walmart Launch Multi-Site Drone Delivery Operations – YouTube
- Can UPS fly past Amazon in drone delivery? – RetailWire
- Will Amazon have to ground its drone program? – RetailWire
- Walmart’s Drone Delivery Takes Flight in Texas with DroneUp – Geospatial Media
- Walmart’s Drone Delivery Takes Flight in Texas with DroneUp – Walmart
- A first look at Amazon’s new delivery drone, slated to start deliveries this year – CNBC
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How confident are you that drone delivery will be sustainable and soon scale nationwide? Is Amazon, Google, Walmart or another carrier best positioned to succeed with drone delivery?