Walmart launches drone delivery service within 50 miles of its Northwest Arkansas store

Residents of northwest Arkansas will now see drones hovering in the skies delivering goods to the homes of people who have ordered at the local Walmart Neighborhood Market.

Walmart and its partner, drone maker Zipline, rolled out the service on Thursday and said they would ship “thousands of products” to customers within 50 miles of the Pea Ridge store.

The companies have designed a 25-foot-high “first of its kind” platform, located at the back of the Walmart, which serves as the infrastructure for drone takeoff and landing.

Orders are placed through the Zipline app, which are collected by Walmart employees who then hand them over to Zipline staff, who prepare the aircraft for launch.

A residence in northwest Arkansas will now see drones hover in the sky to deliver goods to the homes of people who have ordered at the local Walmart Neighborhood Market

Walmart has made a huge push in the drone delivery market over the years, having conducted pilot programs in several states such as North Carolina and Texas.

However, the Arkansas service, while still in a test, appears to be the company’s biggest effort to date.

Tom Ward, senior vice president, Last Mile Delivery, Walmart, said in a statement, “Zipline’s autonomous plane presents an incredible opportunity to provide customers with an on-demand delivery option for the items they need. now, like a thermometer, without prescription drugs or an emergency pack of diapers.

“Even more, Zipline planes can help provide immediate access to items needed by hard-to-reach and at-risk populations, such as rural communities and elderly customers. By bringing this revolutionary technology to the rural community of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, we continue to look for ways to make shopping with Walmart convenient and easy – for everyone. ‘

The companies have designed a 25-foot-high

The companies have designed a 25-foot-high “first of its kind” platform, located at the back of the Walmart, which serves as the infrastructure for drone takeoff and landing.

Orders at the Walmart store are placed using a Zipline delivery app, which provides users with an arrival time for their order.

Orders at the Walmart store are placed using a Zipline delivery app, which provides users with an arrival time for their order.

Items are packed in specially designed boxes and equipped with a parachute

Items are packed in specially designed boxes and equipped with a parachute

Zipline began operating in 2016 and has made more than 200,000 commercial deliveries of more than 4.5 million units of medical supplies, serving more than 20 million people in multiple countries.

And the couple announced their drone delivery service in September 2020.

The test is currently only available to a “small percentage” of customers, but it is expected to expand its reach as companies collect more performance data.

Zipline told The Verge that users eligible for drone delivery were “hand-picked.”

Orders are packaged in specially designed, parachute-equipped packages that are delivered to personnel working on the Zipline platform.

The box, which contains no more than four pounds of cargo, is placed inside the belly of the drone, which is then launched to the delivery destination.

The launch of the drone delivery service comes just 11 days after Walmart announced it was using fully autonomous trucks to get groceries from a distribution center to its supermarket in Bentonville, Arkansas, in. a move that will reduce costs and solve the current labor shortage affecting retail supply chains.

Drones are launched like a slingshot from the platform behind the Walmart location

Drones are launched like a slingshot from the platform behind the Walmart location

After receiving approval from the Arkansas State Highway Commission in December 2020, Gatik’s trucks began making deliveries on the ‘middle mile’ of the supply chain – between ‘dark stores’ , which were closed and turned into distribution centers, and operational supermarkets.

After accumulating 70,000 operational miles two months ago, he finally removed the drive wheels and the safety driver.

This is the first time that an autonomous trucking company has removed the human driver from a commercial delivery route on the middle mile anywhere in the world, according to a joint release from Walmart and Gatik.

The launch of the drone delivery service comes just 11 days after Walmart announced it was using fully autonomous trucks to get groceries from a distribution center to its supermarket in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The launch of the drone delivery service comes just 11 days after Walmart announced it was using fully autonomous trucks to get groceries from a distribution center to its supermarket in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Ward said in a statement released earlier this month that autonomous box trucks “offer an efficient, safe and sustainable solution for moving goods on repeatable routes between our stores.”

“We are excited to be working with Gatik to achieve this first milestone of the driverless industry in our home state of Arkansas and look forward to continuing to use this technology to serve Walmart customers with speed,” he said. -he adds.

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