Walmart to Launch Drone Delivery Program in 2021

The retailer will start with medical supplies and then expand to other merchandise.

September 21, 2020

BENTONVILLE, Ark.—Walmart is teaming up with Zipline, a San Francisco-based medical product delivery company, to provide drone delivery services early next year, reports Business Standard. The company plans to deliver health and wellness products to customers near the retailer's headquarters in Northwest Arkansas and eventually expand to general merchandise deliveries.

Zipline has the world’s largest drone delivery network and began operating in late 2016 in Rwanda with the primary focus of on-demand delivery of medical supplies. It has now delivered more than 200,000 medical items to thousands of health facilities in numerous countries.

Walmart currently uses drones from startup Flytrex to deliver groceries and household essentials from its stores to customers in North Carolina.

As NACS Daily reported earlier this month, Amazon recently won regulatory approval to deliver packages by drone. But the company is still testing the self-piloting aircraft and hasn’t announced when it may deliver goods on a large scale. UPS and a company owned by Google have also won regulatory approval to deliver by drones. Meanwhile, Walmart has also launched its new Walmart+ subscription offer, the company’s solution to Amazon’s Prime deals, turning up the heat in the retail competition.