Walmart’s determination to get products to your home faster is taking off — literally.
The retail giant announced Tuesday that it will expand its DroneUp delivery service to 34 locations by the end of 2022.
The expansion will give Walmart the ability to deliver more than 1 million packages by drone each year, with the potential to reach 4 million U.S. households in six states:
Walmart has been delivering packages by drone for a little while now. After making hundreds of deliveries, the retailer has been somewhat surprised at how customers are using the service.
As David Guggina, senior vice president of innovation and automation for Walmart U.S., writes:
“In fact, while we initially thought customers would use the service for emergency items, we’re finding they use it for its sheer convenience, like a quick fix for a weeknight meal. Case in point: The top-selling item at one of our current hubs is Hamburger Helper.”
Walmart says stores that use drone delivery have an on-site hub with a team of certified pilots who ensure safe delivery of the products.
The drones themselves deliver packages to customers’ yards, using a cable that lowers the package to the ground.
Here’s how Guggina says it will work:
“Between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., customers will be able to order from tens of thousands of eligible items, such as Tylenol, diapers and hot dog buns, for delivery by air in as little as 30 minutes. For a delivery fee of $3.99, customers can order items totaling up to 10 pounds, so simply put, if it fits safely it flies.”
Walmart adds that its DroneUp program “will offer local businesses and municipalities aerial drone solutions in areas like insurance, emergency response and real estate.”
To illustrate, it cites the example of a construction agency that uses DroneUp to take aerial photos of progress at a job site.
Expanded drone delivery is another sign that Walmart has no plans to sit still this year. For more, check out “4 Ways Walmart Stores Are Changing in 2022.”