Do Walmart sell drones? Yes, but not every store does. Some people have had good luck purchasing drones from Walmart, while others had mixed results.
In those cases, they either were unable to buy a drone or were not successful in capturing the drones in their natural habitats.
In any case, if you’re curious about the availability of drones at Walmart, you can try to visit one of their stores from time to time.
Package delivery using drones
When it comes to delivery, a drone may seem like a gimmicky piece of technology, but Walmart has plans to take it a step further with the launch of its new drone delivery service.
For $3.99, customers can have a package delivered by a drone to their doorstep, and Walmart says it will deliver up to one million packages a year.
While Walmart is a relatively new player in the drone delivery space, Alphabet and Amazon have jumped on board. Even Domino’s is investing in drone delivery.
Walmart’s decision to use drones has surprised some customers, who originally thought the new delivery system was just for emergency items like batteries and over-the-counter medications.
However, Walmart has found that many customers are using the new service to buy convenience items that were difficult or impossible to find in the store.
One store is reporting that the most popular item for drone deliveries is Hamburger Helper, with laundry detergent and batteries also high on the list of common items.
While Walmart has yet to release details about its new delivery system, it is expected to roll out the program to at least 37 stores later this year – a fraction of the chain’s 1,800 stores. And as the program grows, Walmart will probably expand its delivery service to other stores.
CleanTechnica, a nonprofit organization devoted to green technology, says that Walmart will have to hire more drone operators to expand its program.
Range of a drone’s flight
Walmart recently announced that they are supplying drones to its stores to deliver packages. These drones have eight propellers and can carry up to three pounds of cargo. This is a lot of weight for a flying device.
The FDA hasn’t given approval for drones that are over 55 pounds, so the company is still working on that. The operators are able to watch the drone’s flight from a mile away.
In order to test their drones, Walmart wants to get clearance to use the drones in outdoor areas. In order to do so, the FAA has to waive the requirement that drones operate within the line of sight of a human operator.
It isn’t easy to get a waiver, and the company is taking the low-tech route of installing a miniature control tower in the Walmart parking lots. From this tower, the operator can view the drone from a distance of 1.5 miles.
One of the first commercial drone deliveries at Walmart will take place near the headquarters in northwest Arkansas. Zipline drones will be able to fly within a 50-mile radius and produce no carbon emissions.
The video featured in Walmart’s press release shows the drone releasing a package with a parachute. The range of a drone’s flight at Walmart is a lot longer than what you would expect for such a product.
While the first trial sites are located near Walmart’s headquarters, it is not yet clear how widespread this service will be.
The company has struck partnerships with three operators to test drone delivery near two locations. They hope to expand this service to a third Walmart store in the same corner of Arkansas.
The company plans to use this technology to deliver groceries to customers who live in the nearby areas. The pilot is currently in the early stages, and Walmart says that the company will be testing drones with this program in the coming months.
While many cities allow robotic delivery vehicles to drive on sidewalks and are guided by humans, Walmart’s project has broadened the range of items that can be dropped by drone.
Walmart is planning to deliver up to 100,000 different products to customers, including items such as batteries, detergents, snacks, and more. This is a huge expansion from the previous plans and is a major step forward for drone delivery in the United States.
Requirements to operate a drone
Currently, the FAA requires all commercially operated drones to be within line of sight of a human operator.
Although this requirement has been a pain point for a number of drone operators, Walmart has opted for a more low-tech approach. Its drone operators are stationed in a miniature control tower within Walmart parking lots.
From this position, they can see their drones from as far as 1.5 miles. The company is hoping to convince the FAA to waive the requirement.
To fly a drone commercially, you’ll need to pass a rigorous test. Once you have passed the test, you can then start capturing aerial imagery for film productions, stock imagery, or real estate. Before you fly your drone, though, you must register it with the FAA.
Getting an FAA identification number is inexpensive and will ensure your drone’s safety. Before flying your drone in public, check the regulations in your state and contact an attorney for advice.
To operate a drone at Walmart, you must meet all regulations set forth by the FAA. You must have a license to operate a drone in the U.S. and possess a remote pilot’s license. Additionally, the drone operator must meet certain minimum requirements. Among these are:
Once the pilot program begins, Walmart is planning to expand its DroneUP network to 34 sites by the end of the year. Its delivery network will cover four million households in the US.
The drones will operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and deliver thousands of eligible items. For the time being, the pilot program will focus on Arkansas and Arizona. If successful, it could be the beginning of a new era of retail drone delivery in the U.S.
Limitations of a drone
One of the big questions that the new delivery system at Walmart faces is how much weight can be carried by a single drone. For now, Walmart’s drones are limited to four pounds, which makes it impractical to deliver big-ticket items like Black Friday deals.
But that won’t stop Walmart from trying. In the next few months, it plans to expand the drone delivery service to other areas, including Cheektowaga, New York. As the service grows, the company will need more pilots to run the drones.
The drones currently in use by Amazon have a weight limit of five pounds, which covers eighty-five percent of the items that the company sells. Increasing this limit would result in extra-regulatory headaches and increase power consumption, noise, and risk of crashing.
Amazon is currently working to amend its rules to allow drone deliveries in the retail environment. It’s unclear when that will happen, but it’s possible that Amazon’s drones will one day make the cut.
Although it’s unlikely that Walmart will use drones on a large scale in its stores, it has filed patents that outline its plans for introducing the technology. Besides addressing security concerns, the drones must be kept away from people and vehicles.
And if they crash, the company will have to make changes to its stores and their infrastructure to make it safer for shoppers. But if Wal-Mart is serious about this new technology, it can still do so without sacrificing security and privacy.
Is a drone delivery service feasible?
While a drone delivery service may be useful, it would be limited in how far it can go. The only place Amazon has invested in this technology is Amazon, and its competitors will most likely follow suit.
In the meantime, consumers will pay the price. Walmart must compete with Amazon in the shipping wars.
There are a lot of other problems that could arise. This new delivery system could cause more harm than good. It could lead to a more dangerous future for humans.
Amazon and Walmart are both exploring drone delivery services, with both companies working on new ways to improve delivery.
They’ve tried voice ordering and Scout bot delivery vehicles. And Walmart’s drone delivery plans, which include FAA-certified pilots, seem to be more aggressive than Amazon’s.
Amazon has been developing the technology for over a decade but has yet to implement it.
While Amazon’s delivery service has been largely successful, it may have stumbled on a cheap way to catch up.