Walmart is expanding its drone delivery service into Texas as part of its plan to reach 4 million additional households across six states in 2022.
The delivery option is available to customers who live within a mile of 11 participating Dallas-area Walmart stores. For a $3.99 fee, drones can deliver more than 10,000 eligible Walmart items up to 10 pounds, including fragile items like eggs, in as little 30 minutes.
There are no minimum orders.
“Drone delivery makes it possible for our customers to shop those last-minute or forgotten items with ease, in a package that’s frankly really cool,” Vik Gopalakrishnan, Walmart U.S. vice president, innovation & automation, said in a statement.
Shoppers can place orders online daily between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. To initiate transactions, customers enter their address on the droneupdelivery.com website to verify eligibility and then select from thousands of items for delivery. Operators then pack the order and secure the box to the drone using a patented delivery release mechanism.
A flight engineer manages a controlled and guided delivery using a cable that gently lowers the package into the customer’s yard. First-time users can have the delivery fee waived by inputting a promo code.
Walmart also is planning for drone delivery to be operating in Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Utah, and Virginia by year end. In total, there will be 34 participating stores in 23 cities and Walmart said it will have the ability to deliver more than 1 million packages by drone in a year. DroneUp LLC, a Virginia Beach, Va.-based drone delivery platform and services provider, is supporting the program,
“Our mission is to set the gold standard for drone delivery and by partnering with Walmart, bring the incredible benefits that drones offer to local communities, organizations, and businesses,” Tom Walker, DroneUp chief executive officer, said in a statement.
DroneUp said deliveries occur in the safest location of the customer’s home, which can be the front yard, back yard, or driveway, and a uses a team of certified pilots operating within FAA guidelines to safely manage flight operations and power the system.
Walmart began offering drone delivery last year at three locations in Northwest Arkansas. The company said in a statement at that time that it is well-positioned to be the drone delivery leader because of its significant infrastructure of more than 4,700 stores stocked with 120,000 of the most purchased items that are located within 10 miles of more than 90% of the U.S. population.