Walmart is increasing its delivery capacity with a new drone delivery service.
The Bentonville retailer is partnering with Zipline to deliver items via drones. This pilot program will focus on the Northwest Arkansas region, operating from a Walmart store and servicing a 50-mile area.
According to Walmart senior vice president of customer product Tom Ward, the Zipline partnership will begin in early 2021. If successful, Walmart may expand its drone delivery options.
“And, not only does their launch and release system allow for quick on-demand delivery in under an hour, but it also eliminates carbon emissions, which lines up perfectly with our sustainability goals,” Ward said.
The delivery service will focus on “select health and wellness products” at first with the possibility of expanding to general merchandise.
This is the second drone delivery program Walmart has announced in recent days. Walmart announced its plan to pilot a drone delivery project with Flytrex, an end-to-end drone delivery company.
Launched on Sept. 9, the Flytrex project is based in Fayetteville, North Carolina and will deliver grocery and household essential items.
Established in 2016, Zipline began operating in Rwanda, providing on-demand delivery of medical supplies. According to its website, Zipline is the only drone delivery company “operating at national scale in multiple countries.”
Zipline uses fixed-wing drones capable of cruising speeds of 60 miles per hour and able to deliver a 3.85 pound load.
Using distribution centers, Zipline is able to make hundreds of deliveries per day within a 8,750 square mile radius.