U.S. retail giant Walmart is launching a drone delivery pilot program in partnership with Israeli drone startup Flytrex.
Walmart stated that it will carry out trial deliveries from Walmart branches in North Carolina to customers’ homes. Customers will be able to receive products that include diapers, meat, toothpaste and hamburger rolls via drone.
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.
Walmart is attempting to compete with fellow retail giant Amazon, which recently received permission to start commercial drone delivery trials in the United States.
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Flytrex has prior experience in drone deliveries. The company is participating in a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration program to integrate drones into the country’s airspace, and a government-led drone delivery project in Reykjavik, Iceland. It’s also participating in an Ayalon Highway Company trial program, carrying out medication and coronavirus sample deliveries to Israeli medical institutions.
Flytrex did not say how much the Walmart pilot is worth. “The food delivery market is estimated to be worth tens of billions of dollars, and one of the major factors limiting its growth is the high cost of deliveries,” says Flytrex CEO Yariv Bash.
“Same with restaurant food deliveries – companies such as Wolt and Uber charge the restaurant 25-30% of the meal price, on top of the delivery fee paid by the customer. Drones should reduce delivery costs drastically, and make it profitable for all parties,” he said.