Walmart’s new drone delivery service, which will be rolled out to six US states, will be available to shoppers by the end of the year.
Walmart will scale up its delivery service with operating partner DroneUp to parts of Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia, with up to 4 million shoppers eligible to use the service later this year.
Shoppers will pay a $3.99 charge per delivery with a weight limit of 10lb under the guidance that “if it fits safely it flies”.
These flying, remote-controlled delivery drones will take customer orders packed in one of 37 eligible stores included in the scheme, and deliver them to customers’ front gardens or driveways, lowered to the ground using a cable.
Walmart said that over 100,000 of its products will be eligible for delivery using the service, with categories varying from groceries to detergents and batteries.
Walmart is one of a number of retailer operators racing to develop a scalable drone delivery offer including Amazon. The grocery giant is betting that its network of physical stores, which more than nine out of 10 Americans lives within 10 miles of, will give it an advantage in drone deliveries over its competitors.
Walmart first trialled its drone delivery scheme for household essentials and Covid-19 test kits at the height of the health crisis but said that its research indicated that shoppers did not consider drone deliveries to be for emergencies only.