Walmart wants to begin testing delivery drones. On Monday, The United States Federal Aviation Administration received an application from Walmart. The application was to determine if Walmart would be granted permission from the FAA to test delivery drones. The drones would be used to deliver items to warehouses, pickup areas, and customers homes. Walmart is not the first company to seek the use of drones for delivery services. The approval of Walmart delivery drones would put them in the same group as Amazon and Google.
Companies are always looking to get an edge against their competition. Delivery services are where these companies try to one-up each other. The use of delivery drones will completely change the game when it comes to online shopping. Amazon and Walmart are both attempting to be the first to corner this market. By using delivery drones, companies will be able to speed up the time it takes for delivery. Being able to use airspace to deliver straight to the customer’s home, delivery drones will not have to deal with the same problems faced by the likes of UPS and USPS. However, the airspace is highly regulated by the FAA.
Walmart has already been testing the usefulness of drones; however, the drone tests have taken place indoors. By testing the drones indoors, Walmart has allegedly shown that the drones can be operated safely. The indoor drone use proves that the drones can land without incident and that they can be flown to a very small area and pick up the product that it is asked to pickup. Walmart now wants to conduct these same exact tests on the outside. The types of drones that Walmart plans to use are the DJI Phantom 3 Professional and the DJI S900. A spokesperson for Walmart, Brian Nick, comments on the use of delivery drones by Walmart.
“Walmart has one of the largest and most efficient supply chains in the world, and our initial tests are targeted at helping to manage that vast network of distribution centers, online fulfillment centers and stores. There is a Walmart within five miles of 70 percent of the US population, which creates some interesting possibilities for serving customers with drones.”
Amazon, in direct competition to Walmart, has already received one of the FAA exemptions in March to test drones for commercial use. Amazon’s pay service, Amazon Prime, would use drones to deliver small packages from their Amazon fulfillment centers to the home of the person who ordered the product. A condition set forth by the FAA was that the Amazon drones would need to be piloted by licensed pilots. The delivery drones were also only to be flown during daylight hours and are not to be flown higher than an altitude of 400 feet.
Do you think Amazon and Walmart delivery drones will be the future of home delivery?
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