Walmart Starts Drone Delivery Testing in North Carolina

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Walmart has announced that it will start utilizing drones to deliver groceries and other household essentials. The multinational retailer has partnered with drone delivery startup, Flytrex, in launching a small pilot program this week to determine the probability of delivering select goods from its stores in Fayetteville, North Carolina to local shoppers. The drones can carry 6.6 pounds at a height 380 feet for a distance of 3.5 miles (and back) at up to 32 mph.  A wire release mechanism is used to lower fastened delivery boxes from eighty feet, ensuring a quiet and secure delivery.

The Verge: Drone deliveries look especially attractive during a pandemic, when many customers and business are keen to avoid in-person interactions

Screenshot from The Verge

According to The Verge, each of the drones can fly at speeds of 32 mph, travel distances of 6.2 miles in a round trip, and carry up to 6.6 pounds (that’s roughly “6-8 hamburgers,” according to converted units offered on Flytrex’s own website). A demo video of the drone shows how it lowers packages to the ground from 80 feet in the air rather than having to land itself.

Walmart has offered few details on the program, including how many drones are involved in the pilot and what checks (if any) customers need to make before receiving a delivery.

Drone deliveries look especially attractive during a pandemic, when many customers and business are keen to avoid in-person interactions. But don’t expect to see drones from Walmart (or any other retailer) buzzing over city streets any time soon. As Flytrex boasts on its website, its aircraft are “designed for the suburbs.”

Screenshot from Walmart

Endgadget.com: Walmart’s drones will fly under the FAA’s part 107 rules that require the drone remain in line of sight and use a remote pilot

Screenshot from endgadget.com

Endgadget.com reports that shortly after receiving final FAA approval for drone deliveries, Amazon already has a rival. Walmart announced that it will start a pilot program with drone company Flytrex to deliver groceries and other household essentials from its stores in Fayetteville, NC. Flytrex had previously received FAA approval for food deliveries in North Carolina.

Walmart’s drones will fly under the FAA’s part 107 rules that require the drone remain in line of sight and use a remote pilot. The FAA has already issued more advanced Part 135 air carrier certificates to Amazon and Google’s Wing Aviation, that allows for drone deliveries beyond visual line of sight. However, Flytrex recently received approval for a parachute safety system that could pave the way for permission to fly over populated areas.

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