Walmart brings its drone delivery service to some Utah locationsPublished at
SALT LAKE CITY (KSL.com) — Maybe you’re in a pinch and need a roll of paper towels. Maybe you’re not feeling well and could use some over-the-counter cold medication. Or, maybe you’re just really craving ice cream and don’t feel like going out.
Whatever the case may be, Walmart customers in Lindon and Herriman have a new order delivery option: drones. The Walmart Supercenter at 585 N. State Street in Lindon and the Walmart Neighborhood Market at 5056 W. 13400 S. in Herriman got on board with the drone delivery program this month, according to a news release.
The retail giant began its drone delivery program in 2021 via a partnership with tech company DroneUp, and has since brought the service to 36 locations in seven states, according to Walmart’s corporate website.
With over 6,000 drone deliveries made in 2022, those drones aren’t slowing down any time soon.
“(We’re) removing a lot of congestion off the road,” said DroneUp spokesman Patrick Santucci. “So there (are) tons of benefits.”
Santucci said drone deliveries average 30 minutes from start to finish. Lindsey Coulter, senior manager of corporate communications at Walmart, added that the top five drone delivery items are Great Value Cookies and Cream ice cream, two-pound bags of lemons, rotisserie chickens, Red Bull energy drinks and Bounty paper towels.
Customers place their orders at droneupdelivery.com. Coulter said drones can deliver more than 10,000 eligible Walmart items up to 10 pounds, including fragile items like eggs. There are no order minimums and the delivery fee is $3.99, she said.
“Customers are using this for all types of items,” she said. “The opportunities are endless.”
Santucci said DroneUp goes “above and beyond” to ensure safety, with pilots at each hub running safety tests before any drone lifts off. The drone then chooses a flight path and flies autonomously, but pilots are monitoring everything, he said.
Santucci said the drones fly at an altitude between 120 and 300 feet. When a drone reaches the delivery location, it drops to about 80 feet and then uses a winch system to lower the package to the ground, he continued.
“It’s a big safety thing to have a winch lower down the package safely and gently to a secure and safe location,” Santucci said. “The drone does not land.”
Coulter said the communities in which they operate have responded positively, with people sometimes even posting videos to social media of their drone deliveries.
“It’s … an exciting moment, not just your average delivery,” she said.
Walmart isn’t trying to replace truck delivery, she continued; rather, the company is trying to expand customers’ options.
“We’re definitely listening to what customers are saying and this expansion last year … is a result of positive customer feedback,” Coulter said.