Walmart to test drone delivery in NW Arkansas with Zipline

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NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart is teaming up with a company called Zipline to launch a drone delivery program early next year that will deliver select health and wellness products near the discounter’s headquarters in Northwest Arkansas.

Walmart said Monday that it plans to eventually expand to general merchandise. Walmart is also using drones from startup Flytrex to deliver groceries and household essentials from its stores in North Carolina.

Zipline will operate from a Walmart store and can service a 50-mile radius, which is about the size of the state of Connecticut, Walmart said in a statement Monday. The company said Zipline’s launch and release system allow for quick on-demand delivery in under an hour, but will also eliminate carbon emissions. The operation will likely begin early next year, and, if successful, Walmart will look to expand, the release said.

Zipline, which operates the world’s largest drone delivery network, began operating in late 2016 in Rwanda primarily focusing on the on-demand delivery of medical supplies. To date, they’ve delivered more than 200,000 critical medical products to thousands of health facilities serving more than 20 million people across multiple countries.

Images via Walmart

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