Need to Know
- Zipline and Walmart will team up to deliver health and wellness products to customers in Arkansas.
- This marks Walmart’s second drone partnership in a week, following the announcement of a deal with Flytrex in North Carolina.
- Walmart will deliver products within a 50-mile radius.
- Walmart notes they “know that it will be some time before we see millions of packages delivered via drone.”
- Zipline and been delivering medical equipment in Arkansas since May 2020.
Walmart is expanding its drone delivery services in the U.S., announcing on Monday that it has partnered with Zipline to bring drone delivery to consumers in Arkansas.
Zipline, the San Fransisco-based drone startup that has staked its reputation delivering medical supplies and equipment in Ghana and Rwanda, will work with Walmart to deliver health and wellness products to customers over a 50-mile radius in Northwest Arkansas. The two companies hope to later expand to offer a wider roster of products for delivery via drone.
The partnership with Zipline comes just days after Walmart announced a similar team-up with Flytrex, to deliver grocery items and other essentials to consumers in North Carolina.
“We know that it will be some time before we see millions of packages delivered via drone,” Tom Ward, SVP of customer product for Walmart said of the Flytrex partnership. “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.”
Walmart and Zipline hope to expand their partnership to include general merchandise delivery in the future.
In partnering with drone companies for home delivery, Walmart is positioning itself as a competitor to Amazon, which received FAA approval in late August to begin trialing deliveries with Amazon Prime Air, its in-house drone delivery fleet. Grocery stores and pharmacies, too, have been investigating new and safe ways to deliver products to their customers as lockdown measures have been imposed across North America due to the coronavirus pandemic. CVS, for instance, partnered with UPS’ drone delivery service, Flight Forward, in May. And in the UK, grocery chain Tesco announced last week that it would begin testing drone delivery in Galway, Ireland.