In December 2013, Amazon announced the Prime Air delivery-by-drone project supposed to take shipping to the next level. The company unveiled a special drone prototype that would be able to ship parcels to consumers via air, significantly decreasing wait times for certain products. However, the FDA wasn’t quite ready to approve Amazon’s bold initiative, and Amazon is yet to offer such fast shipping options to buyers.
Meanwhile, Walmart apparently wants also to be able to send you packages via drone, according to a new report.
The retail giant has asked the FAA for permission to test out its own drones, Reuters says. Walmart has apparently been testing drones indoors, and it’s now looking to move tests for outside testing.
“Drones have a lot of potential to further connect our vast network of stores, distribution centers, fulfillment centers, and transportation fleet,” Walmart spokesman Dan Toporek told Reuters. “There is a Walmart within five miles of 70$ of the U.S. population, which creates some unique and interesting possibilities for serving customers with drones.”
Walmart doesn’t just want to use drones just for shipping purposes. The company is also looking to fly over depots and check the state of its trucks and manage logistics related to loading and shipping. Moreover, Walmart might also be interested in flying drones to deliver purchased from the store, depot or delivery truck to a car in a car park or a home in a residential area. The drone program would also cover the grocery pickup service, which is currently expanding to more stores.
The company will use drones created by China’s SZ DJI Technology Co. though images of Walmart’s delivery drones aren’t available at this time.
It’s not clear when Amazon, Walmart, or any other company will be able to ship products using drones, but that’s apparently the future for shipping. FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker said in June that regulations for drone deliveries will be finalized in the next 12 months, faster than initially expected.