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Walmart's Most Common Drone Deliveries

Walmart has invested in drone deliveries in this particular market.

There was a time when the idea of receiving items by drone delivery service seemed as if it was plucked straight from The Jetsons. But it's 2024, and that type of robotic feat has been put into practice to varying degrees of success. Both Amazon and Walmart are all-in on developing this technology for our everyday use, and as they do so, there's more data to be gleaned from how we use it.

Walmart says it has the largest drone delivery footprint in the U.S.

Supermarket News reports that Walmart's partnerships with drone delivery services Zipline and Wing (the latter owned by Google) have given the big box retailer the largest drone delivery footprint in the United States. Those partnerships allow Walmart to cover the sizable Dallas–Fort Worth area, and 30 stores now offer aerial delivery service.

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Walmart has tested the concept of drone drops over the past two years, and the company says it has made over 20,000 successful deliveries. Zipline and Wing have a unique clearance in that they're allowed to fly their drones "beyond visual line of sight." This means an observer doesn't have to monitor the entire path of the drone, which is crucial if the tech is going to be used for package delivery. That clearance also allows drone service to be more expansive, covering a larger geographic area.

The grocery items most commonly delivered by drone

I'm one of those people who goes to the grocery store to get ingredients for just one meal, and I often forget one crucial item (it's always the damn lemons). You'd think that forgotten ingredients would be the most common thing ordered for drone delivery, but no—it's snacks and beverages.

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Getting snacks and drinks delivered quickly does make sense. Consider the popularity of ultra-rapid grocery delivery services such as Getir and GoPuff, which act like an app-based convenience store to connect you to impulse buys and necessities with as little friction as possible.

Wing chief financial officer Shannon Nash told Supermarket News in a previous interview that the company's drones are capable of carrying just under three pounds of goods, traveling up to 65 miles an hour. That's about three party-size bags of Doritos, in case you forgot the chips for movie night.

Amazon also offers its own drone delivery service, but only in two test cities: College Station, Texas, and Lockeford, California. That service is designed to deliver items in under an hour, but the catch is that property owners need to have a space surveyed by Amazon first in order to determine eligibility. Its FAQ section doesn't specify how much its drones are capable of carrying, but it does say that prescription medication delivery is part of its capabilities.

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Small wheeled robot delivery fleets are one thing, but drones in the sky feel like a whole different ballgame. I'm picturing a world where this is a commonplace practice, and the image of little drones zipping across the sky with packages is, at the very least, an interesting one.

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