Mar 21, 2024 - News

🛍 Drone delivery not quite "one-click" away

Illustration of drones holding stars flying in a line

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Getting a carton of eggs delivered flawlessly by drone is impressive — but behind the scenes, there are still inefficiencies to fix.

State of play: Drone delivery companies are working on new ground-based infrastructure to streamline order pickup and delivery.

  • Wing, for example, introduced an Autoloader contraption on a pole as an alternative to curbside pickup.

Friction point: While drone delivery itself takes only a few minutes, the process needs streamlining on the back end — which is why Walmart tells people to expect 30 minutes.

  • The service isn't yet integrated into Walmart's e-commerce site, so users need to switch to the drone company's site to place their order.
  • Yes, but: It should be a one-click process on Walmart's site by the end of the year, the retailer tells Axios.

What's next: At last week's South by Southwest, DroneUp founder and CEO Tom Walker teased a new automated pickup and delivery hub it plans to introduce soon.

  • Zipline's next-generation delivery drone takes off from and lands on a charging pad affixed to the side of a building. It includes a tethered droid that drops down a chute so workers can load a customer's order without leaving the store.
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