Jun 3, 2022 - Business

Walmart will launch drone delivery in Richmond

A drone flies over a Walmart parking lot.
A drone flies over the parking lot of a Walmart in Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Walmart

Richmond will get its first taste of drone delivery with packages delivered in 30 minutes or less when Walmart's DroneUp launches here this year.

Why it matters: Residents of Blacksburg have been getting purchases dropped from the sky for more than three years — and a Loudoun restaurant drone delivered a brisket sandwich at least once — while we in the capital city have had to wait for our stuff to arrive via roads, like some backwoods yonder still waiting for electricity to arrive.

Driving the news: Richmond is one of six markets that Walmart and DroneUp are adding by the end of the year — making the effort the first large-scale delivery operation in the U.S., Axios' Joann Muller reports.

  • The new markets are Phoenix, Tampa, Orlando, Dallas, Salt Lake City and Richmond. (Walmart already flies drones in Arkansas.)

How it works: Shoppers within a mile of participating stores will be able to order from droneupdelivery.com anything from cold medicine to tampons to hot dog buns — 100,000 different products in all, up to 10 pounds — for $3.99 per drop.

  • Flight engineers will lower packages with a cable from 80 feet above.
  • Delivery will run from 8am-8pm from at least three Walmart stores in each city.
  • "If it fits safely, it flies," DroneUp CEO Tom Walker tells Axios.

What we don't know: Walmart was mum on which of its 15 Richmond-area stores might be included.

  • The mega-chain also wouldn't share a more specific date for the Richmond launch, beyond confirming that it'll be this year.
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