Walmart teams up with Flytrex to test drone deliveries for groceries

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US retail giant Walmart is launching a drone delivery pilot programme in partnership with Israeli drone startup Flytrex. The pilot launches September 10 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and focusses on delivering select grocery and household essential items from Walmart stores using Flytrex’s automated drones.

The drones, which are controlled over the cloud using a smart and easy control dashboard, will help Walmart gain insight into the customer and associate experience, from picking and packing to takeoff and delivery.

“Our latest initiative has us exploring how drones can deliver items in a way that’s convenient, safe, and – you guessed it – fast. Today, we’re taking the next step in our exploration of on-demand delivery by announcing a new pilot with Flytrex, an end-to-end drone delivery company,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president, Customer Product, Walmart in an official statement.

Walmart is attempting to compete with fellow retail giant Amazon, which recently received permission to start commercial drone delivery trials in the United States.

Orders made through the company’s app will be packaged and sent for drone delivery pickup. Drones will drop packages in customers’ yards. Currently the deliveries are being limited to 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) and no more than 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the store. The drones will be remotely monitored by a control panel.

Flytrex has prior experience in drone deliveries. The company is participating in a US Federal Aviation Administration program to integrate drones into the country’s airspace, and a government-led drone delivery project in Reykjavik, Iceland. It is also participating in an Ayalon Highway Company trial program, carrying out medication and Covid-19 sample deliveries to Israeli medical institutions.

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