Walmart, Wing expand further in Texas

We think the story of how US traditional retail conglomerate Walmart seems to have figured out this delivery by drone conundrum is remarkable.

Especially at a time when Amazon – the poster child of new age shopping behemoths that came up in the noughties to replace the traditional, physical structure retailers like Walmart – are experiencing a series of heart-breaking false starts to their own drone delivery operation.

While Amazon’s struggles to launch their own delivery drones have been well documented, Walmart is making steady progress on their own journey, with 31 drone drones across six US states by January this year.

And they will be opening another one in North Richmond Hills city in Texas imminently, after their application was approved by the local council in February.

Perhaps Walmart’s success in this area has a lot to do with the fact that they are working with the actual pros in the business, who include Zipline and Wing; drone delivery companies that have more than 2million delivery flight missions between them completed across the world to date.

And the new operations they are opening in North Richmond Hills will be the fourth in Northern Texas, after Frisco, Little Elm and Lewisville.

To be operated in collaboration with Wing, deliveries will be carried out from the Walmart Supercenter on North Tarrant Parkway, with the first flights expected to begin as early as next week to client locations within a four-mile radius.

The other hub on NE Loop 820 could begin the week after.

The North Richmond Hills City Council unanimously approved the request to allow Wing Aviation to build the landing pads/heliports in the parking lots of the Walmart stores this February, in preparation for the first pilot journey, which is expected to last one year.

“I’m very excited about this project,” council member Blake Vaughn soon after the vote.

“I think it’s a good deal for North Richland Hills.”

According to Prathibha Rajashekhar, Walmart’s senior vice president of automation and innovation, the retail chain now has 11 drone delivery hubs in the Dallas area alone, where they work with drone technology firms that also include DroneUp, Zipline and Wing.

In January, Walmart announced it was expanding drone delivery operations with Wing and Zipline to up to 1.8 million additional households, linking the option to stores across more than 30 towns and municipalities in the Dallas-Forth Worth metroplex.


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