Walmart has teamed up with Zipline for a first-of-a-kind drone delivery operation in the U.S.
According to a Walmart press release, the new service will make on-demand deliveries of select health and wellness products with the potential to expand to general merchandise.
Zipline delivers critical and lifesaving products precisely where and when they are needed, safely and reliably, every day, across multiple countries.
Known for operating the world’s largest drone delivery network, Zipline first began delivering medical supplies such as platelets, frozen plasma and cryoprecipitate in Rwanda in 2016.
Claiming to have made more than 58,556 commercial deliveries so far (and still counting), Zipline most recently partnered with Novant Health to deliver COVID-19 medical supplies and PPEs to medical facilities in North Carolina.
Under the current agreement, Zipline will make use of its proprietary technology to trial deliveries near Walmart’s headquarters here in Northwest Arkansas.
It will operate from a Walmart store and can service a 50-mile radius, which is about the size of the state of Connecticut.
Zipline’s drones should help Walmart inch closer to achieving its sustainability goals: Not only does their launch and release system allow for quick on-demand delivery in under an hour, it also eliminates carbon emissions.
This apart, gas combustion delivery and medical supply vehicles can break down, get stuck in traffic jams that prevent urgent response, and put human drivers at risk behind the wheel – particularly when the route is rough and treacherous.
Zipline’s drone delivery services avoid all these as they are battery powered and can fly quickly and directly to their destinations, leaving ground vehicles behind.
Image and content: Zipline/Walmart