Walmart has partnered with drone services company, DroneUp, LLC, to conduct the first multi-site commercial drone delivery operations. Walmart invested in the Virginia-based drone company in June 2021 after realizing it could offer customers a faster delivery option, with deliveries reportedly taking minutes instead of hours. The first operation has already taken flight at a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Farmington, Arkansas.
DroneUp is a leading provider of drone flight services that is working to transform organizations with drone delivery and drone technology solutions. Headquartered in Virginia Beach, the company was founded in 2016 by Tom Walker and has quickly grown from an American small business startup to a global leader, with a significant investment from the no. 1 retailer in the world, Walmart, Inc.
The three locations, which will be located at Walmart stores in Northwest Arkansas, will operate from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., seven days per week, to deliver items to eligible Walmart customers by air in as little as 30 minutes.
“When we invested in DroneUp earlier this year, we envisioned a drone delivery operation that could be quickly executed and replicated across multiple stores,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president of last mile at Walmart U.S. “Opening our first hub within months of our initial concept showcases DroneUp’s ability to safely execute drone delivery operations with speed. We’re already hearing great customer feedback at our first site in Farmington, Arkansas, and look forward to opening additional locations.”
DroneUp’s delivery operation will provide Walmart customers a safe, convenient, fast, and sustainable delivery option, powered by a crew of skilled operators. Customers can try out the drone delivery service by following these steps:
- Verify: Customer enters their address to verify eligibility.
- Shop: Customer selects from thousands of items for delivery.
- Secure: Operators pack the order and secure the box to the drone using a patented delivery release mechanism.
- Deliver: The flight engineer manages a controlled and guided delivery, placing the order gently at the customer’s home.
Eligible customers in Farmington, AR can begin placing orders now at droneupdelivery.com. The additional locations at Walmart Neighborhood Market #5837 in Rogers and Walmart Supercenter #100 in Bentonville are planned to open in the coming months.
“Teaming up with Walmart to launch three delivery Hubs marks a significant leap forward in the broader use of UAS to provide last-mile consumer delivery services and supply chain efficiency options,” said Tom Walker, CEO of DroneUp. “Walmart and DroneUp provide an unrivaled ability to pick, pack, and deliver via drones directly from the store to consumers offering efficiencies no other retailer can match. We are proud of our team’s ability to deliver the technology helping Walmart launch a new era of commercial drone operations.”
Walmart is well-positioned to be a leader in drone delivery services, as it already has significant infrastructure in place to serve the public – more than 4,700 stores stocked with 120,000 of the commonly purchased items, located within 10 miles of over 90 percent of the U.S. population. Similarly, DroneUp’s airport “Hubs” house convenient on-site operations where FAA certified flight engineers can conduct multiple and simultaneous deliveries.
Drones are uniquely valuable due to their flexibility, speed, and low cost. Drones also require fewer fossil fuel-powered vehicles for short delivery trips. DroneUp has worked closely and continuously with the FAA to ensure the safe operation of drones in the National Airspace and has more than 190 active waivers and authorizations with the FAA to support DroneUp flights across the U.S.