Walmart trials Zipline drones in Arkansas

Walmart customers within 50 miles of a store in northwest Arkansas can now have their goods delivered by an unmanned drone. The hypermarket giant is working with drone makers, Zipline.

A 12 metre platform has been built at the Pea Ridge store for drone take-offs and landings. The pilot programme is the biggest investment in drone deliveries by Walmart, which has been trialling their use for some years in North Carolina and Texas.

Currently the deliveries will be to a ‘small percentage’ of customers but this is set to grow as more data is collected from the scheme.

Tom Ward, senior vice president, Last Mile Delivery, Walmart, said in a statement: “Zipline’s autonomous aircraft present an incredible opportunity to offer customers an on-demand delivery option for the items they need now, such as a thermometer, non-prescription medication or an emergency pack of diapers.

Even more, Zipline’s aircraft can help provide immediate access to needed items for both hard-to-reach and at-risk populations, such as rural communities and elderly customers. By bringing this game-changing technology to the rural community of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, we’re continuing to look for ways to make shopping with Walmart convenient and easy – for everyone.”

Zipline was founded in 2016 and has made more than 200,000 commercial deliveries of predominantly medical supplies in that time. It announced plans to work with Walmart in 2020.

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