Walmart has announced that it will be expanding its DroneUp delivery network to 34 sites by the end the year, enabling as many as 4 million U.S. households across six states to receive their goods from the retail giant without the help of traditional delivery services. These privileged states comprise Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah, and Virginia, many of whose residents will be able to order “tens of thousands of eligible items, such as Tylenol, diapers and hot dog buns, for delivery by air in as little as 30 minutes” between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eligible customers can order items totaling up to 10 pounds for a delivery fee of just $3.99, and by the end of the year, Walmart estimates that it will be able to deliver one million packages with drones annually.
After completing hundreds of deliveries within a matter of months across our existing DroneUp hubs, we’ve seen firsthand how drones can offer customers a practical solution for getting certain items, fast. More importantly, we’ve seen a positive response from our customers that have used the service. In fact, while we initially thought customers would use the service for emergency items, we’re finding they use it for its sheer convenience, like a quick fix for a weeknight meal. Case in point: The top-selling item at one of our current hubs is Hamburger Helper.
Participating stores will house a DroneUp delivery hub inclusive of a team of certified pilots, operating within FAA guidelines, that safely manage flight operations for deliveries. Once a customer places an order, the item is fulfilled from the store, packaged, loaded into the drone and delivered right to their yard using a cable that gently lowers the package.