Apr 4, 2022 - Economy

Wing, Walgreens begin drone delivery in Dallas suburbs

Image of a Walgreens employee clipping a customer order to a Wing drone tether

A Walgreens employee clips a customer order to a tether for Wing drone delivery. Photo courtesy of Wing

The first commercial drone delivery service in a major U.S. metropolitan area will launch this week in suburban Dallas, where Google-owned Wing will begin delivering items from Walgreens and a few other partners.

Why it matters: Until now, drone delivery trials have been limited to small towns and rural areas, which are less congested. But Wing aims to prove it can provide on-demand deliveries in more complex urban settings as well.

The launch marks a new, "more scalable" approach for drone delivery, says Wing.

  • The company will partner with retailers, staging its drones at their stores so they can deploy their own dedicated fleet from their parking lot, roof or nearby spaces.
  • Store employees will fill customer orders, then use a tablet to summon the drone and step outside to clip the package to the drone's tether.
  • Wing employees will oversee the delivery from a remote location.

Details: The service, operating from a Walgreens in Little Elm, begins Thursday for "tens of thousands of suburban homes" in that town and parts of Frisco (the fastest-growing city in the U.S., according to U.S. Census Bureau data).

  • The drones can serve up to a 6-mile radius, but Wing says it will start with a few neighborhoods and gradually expand.

Wing's new operation begins just a few days after Flytrex, an Israeli-based drone company, said it would begin making restaurant deliveries in Granbury, near Dallas.

Fun fact: Aside from health and wellness products from Walgreens, prescription pet medications from easyvet and first-aid kits from Texas Health, Wing's drones will also deliver pints of ice cream from Blue Bell Creameries.

  • Wing assures Axios that delivery is so fast the ice cream won't melt in the hot Texas sun.
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