Walgreens pilots US drone deliveries

US retailer Walgreens has become the first retailer to launch a drone delivery service. Using FedEx Express and Google-owned Wing (which is the first licensed drone operator by the FAA) it plans to do ‘store to door’ deliveries of health and wellness, food and beverage and convenience items.

The drone flights are to take place in the Virginia city of Christiansburg beginning in October.

While fully rolled out at the store this is still a pilot project. The service is to be monitored at all levels with a view to gradual roll out when the pilot is completed. Walgreens claim that 78% of the US population will be within a drone flight (five miles) of a Walgreens store.

“Walgreens continues to explore partnerships to transform and modernize our customer experience and we are proud to be the first retailer in the U.S. to offer an on-demand commercial drone delivery option with Wing,” said Vish Sankaran, chief innovation officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.

“With a customer-led focus, we continue to create differentiated shopping experiences that provide the products and services consumers need wherever, whenever and however they may want them. This is the kind of omni-channel partnership and offering that can redefine convenience for our customers and communities – delivering items to homes in minutes, not hours or days.”

Wing has been working with Virginia Tech in Blacksburg (close to Christiansburg) to test drone delivery alongside the US Department of Transportation. This is why the site was chosen.

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