The American retail giant Walmart announced on Tuesday the expansion of its drone delivery service, planning to make it available in 34 locations in the United States by the end of the year. The drones will be operational in six US states (Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia) with the ability to reach up to 4 million homes and deliver more than 1 million deliveries per year, it said. the company.
Walmart customers will be able to order their goods between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. and, for a delivery fee of $3.99 (3.75 euros) per order, will have them delivered by airmail within half an hour. . Each delivery may weigh up to 10 pounds (4.5 kg). Tens of thousands of products, such as medicines, diapers and hot dog buns, will be available to order.
Walmart will use devices and technology from the startup DroneUp in which the group has invested. Each participating store will house a drone delivery center comprising a team of DroneUp pilots, certified to operate aircraft by the US civil aviation regulator (FAA).
As early as 2020, the retail giant had announced partnerships with DroneUp, as well as with Flytrex and Zipline. Several projects have emerged, but their scope has remained relatively limited until now. By considerably accelerating its efforts, Walmart is seeking to position itself as the market leader in drone delivery, a sector coveted by other large American companies, including Amazon, Alphabet (the parent company of Google) and the transport specialist of UPS goods.
To win against the competition, the Bentonville (Arkansas) group is counting on a major asset: approximately 90% of Americans live within 10 miles (16 km) of one of the country’s 4,700 Walmart stores.