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Walmart, to expand drone delivery service!

Walmart, set to expand its drone delivery operations, as the giant retailer looks to add speedy delivery to compete in the ever-growing delivery service with the likes of Amazon.com Inc. and FedEx Corp.

Walmart, said that it will be able to deliver more than 1 million packages by drone a year in as little as 30 minutes to households in many parts of major cities in US.

The service will have a $3.99 delivery fee per order and can deliver up to 10 pounds or at a time.

*Engadget tweet on Walmart drone service

Walmart has a partnership with operator DroneUp LLC,

Currently operating drone-delivery hubs out of Walmart stores, where Orders are fulfilled from stores, loaded onto the drones and delivered to yards using a cable that lowers the package to the ground.

  • Walmart joins other retailers like Amazon, delivery firms FedEx and (UPS) United Parcel Service Inc., to explore delivering items using drones.

The companies have for years touted drones as a potential solution to the costly last mile of home deliveries and also to reach rural customers in a more cost-effective way.

  • Early commercial applications of drone operations have been limited.

UPS’s first approval of commercial drone operations involved shipping medical products and specimens across hospital campuses.

FedEx’s Express unit earlier this year said it was partnering with Elroy Air Inc. on autonomous drone cargo delivery to move shipments between sortation centers.

UPS’s CEO Carol Tomé earlier this year said that a broader commercial drone delivery network is still a way off.

There are lots of issues with drones. You can’t fly them when it’s windy, you can’t fly them when it’s rainy,” Ms. Tomé said at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event

*Oliver WYMAN Drone market chart

Other companies, including Wing, a unit of Google have also been working on drone delivery for nearly a decade.

Advocates for drone delivery say the technology could reduce emissions, the cost per trip and traffic, while also making ultrafast delivery the new norm in the race toward e-commerce instant gratification.

Drones are the latest delivery method in Walmart’s automation delivery services.

image: Walmart drone inc.