drone pilot industryWalmart Announces Partnership to Make Mass Drone Deliveries a Reality

June 17, 2021by helo-10
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Bentonville, AR – Retail giant Walmart announces a partnership with DroneUp that will set up Walmart as the major retailer for drone deliveries.

The partnership will begin in the coming months at the hometown of the retail giant. If all goes well and the public opinion of drones stays high, one would have to wonder of the timeline Walmart would set to expand the program to all of their 5,000 stores nation wide.

Late last year, DroneUp partnered with Walmart and Quest Diagnostics to deliver at-home COVID-19 self-collection kits. Those trial runs in select locations led to an accelerated timeline for the implementation of more widespread delivery.

“This news sets the stage for the drone wars to really heat up. This move sets up Walmart to become the major retailer for drone deliveries, customers will be able to receive orders in record time” said Grant Guillot, host of MarketScale’s Drones in America.

According to its website, 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store or Sam’s Club which establishes a major opportunity for the retail giant to bring drone delivery as a part of American’s every day lives and to redefine the delivery standards consumers expect.

From a legal perspective, all deliveries via drone must be flown under FAA Part 107, which means the pilot operating the vehicle must maintain line of sight at all times.

There has been recent buzz around Walmart’s drone platform prototype in Arkansas, which would provide a stable and permanent structure that would lift the pilot’s eye line and enhance the ability of the pilot to see the drone.

Last week, as part of the FAA symposium, administrator Steve Dickson stated that the organization is forming a new panel that will produce rules for drone flights to operate beyond line of sight. These rules would set the framework for deliveries based on the range of the vehicle being used and not on the eyesight of the operator. DroneUP has been invited to participate on this committee and share the lessons they have learned through the early delivery efforts.

Currently, the most feasible way to operate a drone beyond visual line of sight is by obtaining a Part 135 certification, which can take multiple years.

Establishing concrete rules for this type of flight would unleash the full economic possibilities drones can provide the economy and private industry.

Walmart’s drone deliveries will begin in the coming months and will be focused on simple, lightweight items. As technology and policy progress, the eventual goal would be for a retailer to deliver an entire grocery cart to a consumers doorstep.

Guillot will join Daniel Litwin for a live press conference at 12 p.m. Central to discuss the potential impact of this partnership and answer questions regarding what this means for the the future of drone delivery.

 

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There is more to being a drone pilot than just buying a machine and flying in your backyard. It can be that simple, but most of us will need to understand some drone laws before we try to take to the sky.

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