Drone deliveries are slowly gaining momentum as a technology developed by many businesses and simultaneously being tested. Many companies are already testing their systems to deliver merchandise via drones successfully, and now Walmart has also joined the club.
A small pilot program has been launched by Walmart in North Carolina, under which their drones will make deliveries. Very selective grocery and essential household items will be covered under this pilot test by the retailer.
Automated drones are a key aspect of the operation here, operated by Israeli startup Flytrex. The drones being used by them for the pilot test have some very notable features, starting with the fact that each one will be able to fly at a speed of 32 mph and cover 6.2 miles on a round trip.
The weight that drones will carry is around 6.6 pounds, which is roughly around 6-8 hamburgers, as mentioned by Flytrex. Through a demo video, the startup showed that their drones don’t need to land themselves to deliver the product. Rather they can do so while being 80 ft in the air.
FAA approval is the most crucial step any company has to go through to execute drone deliveries. Flytrex received the same last year as they were testing the technology in North Carolina itself. Certain restrictions have been placed, like the drones are allowed to go over only pre-determined routes and above unpopulated areas only.
Details of the program have been shared by Walmart so that customers understand their role in the entire program. Walmart senior vice president Tom Ward said in a news post that, “That it still feels like a bit of science fiction, but we’re at a point where we’re learning more and more about the technology that is available and how we can use it to make our customers’ lives easier.”
First tests around drone delivery were made by Walmart back in 2015 when they were mostly testing drones. Tests with checking inventory in their warehouses have already been in 2016. Now, they are moving towards using technology for customer deliveries. It is a big step, and many have been looking into it for circumstances like pandemics. Safety has been a major concern during the process, along with the fact that drone deliveries are costlier than the usual deliveries.
Adopting drone deliveries as a normal concept will take time, but businesses like Walmart have to keep pushing through. Even Amazon received their approval with similar restrictions from the FAA. The e-commerce company now has approval for operation as a drone airline across the United States but with considerable restrictions. Both businesses are running neck to neck, and only recently, Walmart has launched a subscription service that seems to be similar to Amazon prime.