This story originally appeared at flyingmag.com.
Walmart has gained a reputation as a home to some of the weirdest and wackiest shoppers among us. If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, you may be able to avoid them.
The massive retailer on Thursday announced a partnership with Wing, the drone delivery arm of Google parent Alphabet, to deliver quick meals, groceries, household essentials, over-the-counter medicines and more to residents through the air. Deliveries are expected to arrive in under 30 minutes straight to customers’ yards, driveways, front doorsteps or other location of their choosing.
The service will launch from two Walmart Supercenters in the coming weeks and reach around 60,000 homes.
“This is a major milestone for Wing as we continue down our path toward building capabilities to support some of the most significant delivery operations in the world,” wrote Shannon Nash, chief financial officer of Wing, in a blog post. “Our technology is designed to complement existing delivery offerings, making overall systems more efficient and able to meet real customer needs.”
The partners will begin with a Walmart store at 8555 Preston Road in the northern suburb of Frisco, adding large sections of the central and eastern parts of the town to its service area. Customers had been requesting an expansion since the service began delivering to Frisco in 2021.
Dallas-Fort Worth-area residents can determine if they are eligible for drone deliveries by downloading the Wing app, creating an account and entering their addresses. A “Coming Soon” message means they will be eligible for the new service on Day 1. The app may also say a resident is eligible but does not live in the right area — Wing said it will add additional neighborhoods soon and to check back “in a few weeks.”
A second nearby store will join the delivery network before the end of this year, with more expected down the road. For now, the service will be available to homes within 6 miles of participating stores.
When the expanded Dallas service launches, Wing said it will expand hours of operation to 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. to provide more evening service. It will also extend availability to six days a week, delivering every day except Wednesday.
For Walmart, the partnership builds on more than two years operating drone delivery services in the U.S. The retailer has completed more than 10,000 deliveries out of 36 stores across seven states. It currently operates 11 drone hubs in the Dallas area and will now add two more. Most of these are overseen by longtime drone logistics partner DroneUp.
“Working with Wing directly aligns with our passion for finding innovative and eco-friendly last-mile delivery solutions to get customers the items they want, when they want them,” wrote Prathibha Rajashekhar, senior vice president of innovation and automation for Walmart U.S., in a blog post. “With drones that can fly beyond visual line of sight, we’re able to unlock on-demand delivery for customers living within an approximate 6-mile range of the stores that offer the service.”
Wing’s drones cruise at around 65 mph and use a tether to deliver cargo to precise locations in urban and suburban settings. Operators oversee the aircraft from remote command centers, flying beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) in many cases. The company relies on its Wing Delivery Network model, which uses stores as delivery hubs, allocates drones across the network and enables convenient options like curbside pickup.
Wing first landed in the Dallas area in 2021, when it began trialing a delivery model that staged delivery drones in tiny hangars at Walgreens retail locations: on roofs, in parking lots and adjacent to the building.
Its commercial service in the area launched in full in April 2022, delivering from Walgreens, Blue Bell Creameries, Easyvet and an array of local and national retailers. At many locations, store associates load the drones rather than Wing employees. Earlier this year, it began offering special deliveries to events in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, such as sunscreen for pool parties or orange slices for soccer games.
The company also flies in Christiansburg, Virginia, where it launched its first U.S. service in 2019. Its biggest services, though, are in Australia; it’s flown in Queensland since 2019, where the city of Logan (a suburb of Brisbane) sometimes sees 1,000 deliveries per day. Wing has also delivered in Helsinki since 2019.
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