Jul 22, 2022 - Business

Walmart leans into drone delivery

DroneUp's new "drone hub" at the Bentonville Walmart Supercenter is up and running. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

Drone delivery is now available at two more NWA Walmarts.

What's happening: DroneUp recently opened hubs at the Supercenter on Walton Boulevard in Bentonville and the Pinnacle Hills store in Rogers.

  • The first opened last year at the Neighborhood Market on Main Street in Farmington.

The big picture: Walmart has explored using drones for delivering goods to customers over the past few years. The company also uses Zipline drones to transport items from its Pea Ridge store.

  • DroneUp began working with Walmart on delivering COVID-19 tests earlier in the pandemic.

How it works: The drones can make deliveries weighing up to 5 pounds. You order online, and it generally takes less than 30 minutes for your package to arrive, Amy Wiegand, DroneUp spokesperson, told Axios.

  • Deliveries cost $3.99 and are available 8am-8pm daily.

What they're saying: "Walmart has the mission to provide customers with fast delivery, and we are the drone solution for that, and being in Northwest Arkansas, it's high visibility. It's a place where we can get immediate feedback to iterate on that feedback to improve customer experience," Alex Buckley of DroneUp told Axios.

Be smart: The deliveries are only available within 1 mile for now because of Federal Aviation Administration regulations, which Buckley said he hopes will be loosened, allowing deliveries to go further in the future.

Yes, and: DroneUp will also offer services out of its Walmart-based hubs besides customer delivery. The company has aircraft that can be used for cinematography or to assist real estate companies with roof inspections, for example, Wiegand said.

What's next: The company has no plans for more hubs at NWA stores for now, but intends to add them in Florida, Virginia, Utah, Texas and Arizona.


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