Walmart has launched a pilot version of an on-demand drone-delivery service for grocery and household essentials in North Carolina.
The retail giant announced the partnership with Flytrex, an end-to-end drone-delivery company, on Wednesday. People who live in Fayetteville, North Carolina, will be able to test out the program by requesting deliveries via drone.
“We know that it will be some time before we see millions of packages delivered via drone. That still feels like a bit of science fiction, but we’re at a point where we’re learning more and more about the technology that is available, and how we can use it to make our customers’ lives easier,” wrote Tom Ward, senior vice president of customer product at Walmart, in the announcement.
The Flytrex drones are controlled over the cloud and employ a user-friendly control dashboard. According to the company’s website, the drones can operate at 32 mph at 230 feet and can carry up to 6.6 pounds. Flytrex’s drones are a part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Integration Pilot Program.
Walmart’s announcement comes on the heels of Amazon’s Prime Air drone delivery plan taking the next step by being issued a Part 135 air carrier certificate by the FAA last week. Amazon hopes the FAA certification will lead to the delivery of Amazon Prime packages by drone to customers’ doors within hours of ordering.
The FAA also previously gave Google-owned Wing and UPS permission to take their separate drone delivery programs to the next level. Wing and UPS’ programs focus on delivering over-the-counter medicine or prescription medicine to customers’ homes from Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy, respectively.