Zipline to deliver health products to Walmart clients in the US
Zipline are become a true drone logistics company, aren’t they? Their dream of delivery health supplies directly to people’s homes are becoming a reality.
From monopolising the medical delivery market in Rwanda and Ghana, the American drone company has now entered a partnership with American retailer, Walmart, which will see them deliver health and wellness products to clients’ homes in Arkansas.
Zipline’s pilot tests will be operated from a hub at Walmart’s headquarters in Northwest Arkansas, where the drone company will transport orders from the store to clients within a 50-mile radius.
They will be using their tried and tested launch and release system, in which they take a few minutes to load an order, confirm flight with the local aviation authority, before catapulting the drone on its way to the customer, who will be alerted when their delivery is a few minutes out.
Once at the destination, the drone will not land, but will open its bottom doors, releasing the package, which will float towards the ground because it has a parachute attached.
“Zipline will operate from a Walmart store and can service a 50-mile radius, which is about the size of the state of Connecticut,” said Tom Ward, Walmart’s Senior Vice President, Customer Product. “And, not only does their launch and release system allow for quick on-demand delivery in under an hour, but it also eliminates carbon emissions, which lines up perfectly with our sustainability goals.
“The operation will likely begin early next year, and, if successful, we’ll look to expand.”
Last week on September 9, 2020, Walmart announced the same deal with another drone delivery company, Flytrex, which will be delivering selected grocery and household goods in Fayeteville, North Carolina.
“We know that it will be some time before we see millions of packages delivered via drone,” Ward said. “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.
“Customers today are busier than ever, which is why every day we’re finding new ways to make their lives easier. At the same time, our history of innovation, a foundation laid by our founder Sam Walton, has us committed to learning how new technology can better serve customers.”
Since 2016 when they launched in Rwanda, Zipline have made more than 200,000 flights and helped more that 20 million people, most of them in Africa. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the US Federal Aviation Administration granted a Part 107 waiver to Novant Health in partnership with Zipline for the delivery of medical supplies and personal protective equipment to medical facilities in North Carolina.