Drone Delivery Takes Off for Amazon and Walmart

Amazon Prime and Walmart are taking to the skies, delivering packages to some customers via airborne drone. But not everywhere. 

Drone deliveries are already happening in parts of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia as the two top retailers engineer ways to get deliveries into customers’ hands in faster, smoother ways.

Walmart has 37 stores set up for drone delivery to homes and businesses— six stores in Arizona, four in Arkansas, nine Walmarts in Florida, two in North Carolina, 11 in Texas, two in Utah and three in Virginia. Walmart has partnered with drone delivery service DroneUp Delivery to deliver customers’ packages that weigh 10 pounds or less. Walmart says that more than 10,000 items are available for drone delivery and items can arrive as quickly as 30 minutes after the order has been placed.

There are restrictions: Customers must live within one mile of participating stores. Orders are accepted on the DroneUp Delivery website from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. local time.

The top-selling item at one of Walmart’s drone ports? Hamburger Helper...

“If it fits safely, it flies,” Walmart said in a statement. “Participating stores will house a DroneUp delivery hub inclusive of a team of certified pilots, operating within FAA guidelines, that safely manage flight operations for deliveries. Once a customer places an order, the item is fulfilled from the store, packaged, loaded into the drone and delivered right to their yard using a cable that gently lowers the package.” Oh, and the top-selling item at one of Walmart’s drone ports? Hamburger Helper. Just sayin’.

Amazon, meanwhile, has started drone deliveries in Northern California — Lockeford, to be specific, 50 miles south of Sacramento — and College Station, Texas, using its in-house Amazon Prime Air fleet of drones which can carry items up to five pounds. 

Customers place their orders via the Amazon website. They get tracking information for their item and are told approximately what time the order will arrive by drone and be dropped off in their backyard. Amazon employees monitor the deliveries. To get delivery via Amazon Prime Air your home will need to be approximately four miles from either of the Prime Air Drone Delivery Centers and these are daytime deliveries only, five days a week. 

Walmart and Amazon have plans to roll out their respective airborne delivery services to other regions. Drones... coming soon to a town near you.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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