The announcement appeared on the company’s corporate blog in a post written by John Furner, CEO and president of Walmart U.S.
“Last year, we partnered with DroneUp, a nationwide drone services provider, to launch trial deliveries of at-home COVID-19 self-collection kits. The trial demonstrated we could offer customers delivery in minutes versus hours. 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 wrote.
He did not disclose Walmart’s investment, but he noted the retailer would begin drone deliveries from a store in Bentonville, Arkansas.
“Walmart already has a significant part of the infrastructure in place — 4,700 stores stocked with more than 100,000 of the most-purchased items, located within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population,” Furner wrote. “This makes us uniquely positioned to execute drone deliveries, which is why our investment in DroneUp won’t just apply to the skies but also the ground.”
DroneUp provides drone flight management services. It matches Federal Aviation Administration-approved pilots to drone missions across the country.
Previously, Walmart announced that customers along the Arkansas and Missouri state line will be able to receive e-commerce orders via drone delivery this summer as part of a pilot with drone provider Zipline International. That program will operate out of Walmart’s Pea Ridge, Arkansas, store.
In April, the first commercial deliveries by drone from A2Z Drone Delivery in collaboration with DroneUp were completed, the companies announced. Walmart helped facilitate those deliveries, which featured cans of Coca-Cola with Coffee (NYSE: KO) delivered to residents of Coffee County, Georgia. DroneUp managed the flights using A2Z’s Rapid Delivery System.
Walmart has also been working on a pilot with Flytrex in North Carolina. In that pilot, Flytrex drones, working in partnership with Causey Aviation Unmanned, are delivering consumer goods from Walmart and restaurants in the Holly Springs Towne Center located in Fayetteville, North Carolina.