The nation’s largest retailer has been working with DroneUp since the height of the coronavirus pandemic when the national drone services provider began trial deliveries of COVID-19 at-home testing kits.
Walmart announced in the summer that it would expand that program to reach up to 4 million U.S. households in Arizona, Texas, Florida, Utah, Virginia, and Arkansas by the end of 2022.
If successful, the drone deliveries will be available in 23 cities across the nation, according to the retailer.
There are 34 planned drone sites, and customers will be able to order up to 10 pounds of eligible goods for drone delivery. The delivery should take place within 30 minutes, according to a press release.
“Between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., customers will be able to order from tens of thousands of eligible items, such as Tylenol, diapers and hot dog buns, for delivery by air in as little as 30 minutes,” the release said.
“For a delivery fee of $3.99, customers can order items totaling up to 10 pounds, so simply put, if it fits safely it flies,” it continued.
DroneUp CEO Tom Walker said the company’s approach is “unique” and that its mission is to “set the gold standard for drone delivery.”
“Our approach is unique; we practice safety above all else and incorporate state-of-the-art technology,” he said in a statement.
Walker added that the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates the use of drones, played a critical role in the program’s success.
The drones, powered by certified pilots that operate within FAA guidelines, drop off packages “to the safest location of the customer’s home,” the Walmart release said.
These areas include the front yard, backyard, or driveway of customers’ homes, the company explained.
DroneUp posted Friday on social media that it had tested its delivery service at the Piedmont G.L.O.B.A.L. Academy in Dallas.
“Yesterday, we visited students at Piedmont G.L.O.B.A.L. Academy in Dallas, TX. In partnership with@Walmart, we made a special delivery to the school and we had the opportunity to speak with the students about the careers in our emerging drone industry,” the post said.
“The path forward is up!” the company added.
Amazon also announced plans earlier this year to begin free drone deliveries.
A small community in Northern California will be among the first to receive the deliveries within 30 minutes, according to the company.