Walmart invests in DroneUp

US retail giant has made an investment in US drone delivery company DroneUp for an undisclosed sum as it seeks new ways of becoming more competitive with its delivery solutions.

“In our ongoing effort to get customers the items they want – and fast – we know it will take a well-coordinated network of delivery solutions that span the streets, sidewalks and skies,” said John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. “Some of these solutions are still emerging but they’re already showing encouraging results.”

Last year, Walmart ran a pilot with DroneUp for deliveries of at-home COVID-19 self-testing kits. This reduced delivery times from hours to just minutes. “Now, after safely completing hundreds of drone deliveries from Walmart stores, we’re making an investment in DroneUp to continue our work toward developing a scalable last mile delivery solution,” Furner said.

DroneUp offers an on-demand drone services and delivery network that matches its database of over 10,000 FAA certified pilots to delivery and other service requests across the United States. Walmart saw how good this was during the pilot last year. It is an authorised drone services provider and has contracts with 11 states to provide services for their governments and agencies.

“The drone services industry has reached an inflection point of rapidly increased adoption and acceptance,” said Tom Walker, founder and CEO of DroneUp. “Walmart and DroneUp are uniquely positioned to succeed in the next chapter of last-mile delivery. Walmart’s vast hub-and-spoke network, combined with DroneUp’s extensive operational expertise, will unlock affordable rapid delivery and nationwide drone services.”