Axios Dallas

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Happy Thursday! Assess before reacting.

🌧 Today's weather: Rainy, cloudy, high in the mid-60s.

ğŸŽµ Sounds like: "I Believe I Can Fly"

🏀 Situational awareness: You have until 11am to sign up for our Axios Dallas group on ESPN and enter a bracket for the men's or women's side — or both!

  • The password to enter the group is "Axios"

Today's newsletter is 917 droning words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: What it's like ordering a Walmart drone

Behind the scenes as a drone delivery is loaded for transit. Video: Gregory Castillo/Axios

Dallas-Fort Worth is emerging as the drone delivery capital of America, thanks largely to Walmart.

Why it matters: Walmart plans to make the service widely available to 1.8 million Dallas-area residents by the end of 2024, reports Axios' Joann Muller.

  • The company announced in January it will offer drone deliveries across 30 municipalities in North Texas, saying it's the first time a U.S. retailer has offered drone delivery to this many households in a single market.

State of play: Axios recently tried two of Walmart's partner services, Wing and DroneUp, to see what drone delivery is like.

  • Both companies operate from a cordoned-off area of the parking lots at Walmart stores in Frisco and Garland.

Yes, but: We don't live within Walmart's current drone delivery zones, so we had to settle for free delivery at nearby demo locations.

What happened: We used a smartphone to place separate orders on Wing's Walmart delivery app.

  • A Wing employee goes into the store to grab the items from the shelves and pay at self-checkout.
  • Then, on a folding table near the exit, the items are put into cardboard containers, weighed and labeled.

How it works: When an order is placed, Wing's flight navigation system assigns a drone and generates a flight plan to the delivery spot, taking into account geography, weather and air traffic.

  • The assigned drone's propellers start automatically, and the drone rises about 25 feet, hovering while the employee, wearing a hard hat, attaches the package to a tether.
  • The drone recoils the tether, secures the package to the belly of the aircraft, then rises to a cruising altitude of up to 400 feet before departing.

The bottom line: When the drone arrives at its destination, it hovers at about 25 feet, then lowers the tethered package gently to the ground.

  • The clip releases automatically, the tether recoils, and the drone ascends and flies away.

Go deeper: Axios Texas social media host Greg Castillo orders a Dr Pepper

2. 🛍 Drone delivery not quite "one-click" away

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.

3. ğŸŽŠ Axios Dallas Weekender

Your ticket to the weekend. Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

☀️ Totally laugh. Nerds and scientists-turned-comics will joke about the upcoming total eclipse in the comedy show, "Laugh of Totality."

  • 7-8:30 tonight at Wild Detectives in Bishop Arts. $15.

ğŸ’Ž Ignore the rough. Let a street rat show you the world in "Aladdin Jr." put on by North Texas Performing Arts.

  • 7:15pm today and Friday. 2:15pm and 7:15pm Saturday. 1:15pm and 5:15pm Sunday at the Willow Bend Center of the Arts in Plano. Tickets start at $14.

🦖 When you gotta go! Watch lifelike prehistoric creatures at Dinosaur World Live, with a meet-and-greet after the show.

💙 Mum! Dad! Celebrate the whole family at "Bluey's Big Play" at Bass Performance Hall.

  • 11am and 3pm Saturday and Sunday in Fort Worth. Tickets start at $22.

🥻 No need to say sari. Appreciate Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance form, at "mahAmAyA." There will be henna tattoos and sari-wrapping lessons before the performances.

  • 7:30pm Saturday and Sunday at Strauss Square at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. $29.50.

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4. ğŸ—ž Burnt ends: Bite-sized news bits

Hottest news links in town. Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🌊 Fishing, kayaking and other water activities are suspended at White Rock Lake after a 1.5 million gallon sewage spill. (DMN)

✈️ Dallas-based Southwest Airlines has reached a tentative contract agreement with union flight attendants, who have been asking for pay raises equivalent to the raises pilots have received. (NBC5)

🦫 Construction delays will keep the Hillsboro Buc-ee's from opening ahead of the total solar eclipse. (WFAA)

🌇 The Dallas Mavericks have been flying in a personal chef for away games so Kyrie Irving can have vegan meals to end his fasts for Ramadan. (Bleacher Report)

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Fresh job openings around town

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5. ☕ One lit-up coffee shop to go

Creamy, foamy latte spiced with cinnamon. Photo: Naheed Rajwani-Dharsi/Axios

A recent jaunt to Old Town Lewisville led us to a coffee shop we will return to.

Vibe check: Perc Coffeehouse is filled with dozens of antique light fixtures and signs, including an old Western Union sign and Columbia Records sign.

  • The owners are longtime history buffs and antique collectors. They chose their favorite items for their two-story coffee shop, which is around eight years old.
  • Plus: There's live music on some nights.
A photo of the colorful inside of a coffeshop
Vibey, spacious hangout spot for all. Photo: Naheed Rajwani-Dharsi/Axios

What to order: Creme brulee latte, a seasonal item

Where: Perc Coffeehouse, 115 W. Main St. in Lewisville

Cost: $5.85

Six word review: Charming for dates and friendly hangs.

😋 Have a favorite coffee or tea shop we should try? Hit reply and let us know.

This newsletter was edited by Bob Gee and copy edited by Carolyn DiPaolo.

Our picks:

ğŸŽ€ Tasha is considering seeing Paula Poundstone this weekend.

🏀 Naheed is planning to check out the Whataburger Fan Fest this weekend to meet baby Maverick Dereck Lively II.

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