BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Walmart is investing in a drone delivery company, with operations set to begin at an Arkansas store within months, the retailer announced Thursday.
Last year, Walmart partnered with DroneUp to test drone deliveries of at-home COVID-19 self-collection kits. Now, after “safely completing hundreds of drone deliveries from Walmart stores,” the retailer is making an investment in the company, which operates commercially as well as in its capacity as an authorized government drone services provider.
“Conducting drone deliveries at scale is within reach,” Walmart U.S. CEO and president John Furner said on the company’s corporate blog. “DroneUp’s expertise combined with our retail footprint and proven history of logistics innovation puts us right where we want to be for that day. Because when it comes to the future of drone delivery, we know the sky’s the limit.”
According to Walmart’s release, DroneUp is the first company to use the Federal Aviation Administration’s 107.39 waiver, which allows for delivery flights to be conducted over people and moving vehicles.
“Walmart already has a significant part of the infrastructure in place – 4,700 stores stocked with more than 100,000 of the most purchased items, located within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population,” Furner said. “This makes us uniquely positioned to execute drone deliveries, which is why our investment in DroneUp won’t just apply to the skies but also the ground.”
Furner said DroneUp’s first operations are set to begin at a store in Bentonville in the “coming months.”