Walmart experiments with using drones to deliver COVID-19 self-test kits


Walmart’s new drone trial will deliver COVID-19 self-test kits directly to homes. 


Walmart has been experimenting recently with drones, announcing plans this month to handle deliveries of health and wellness supplies in Arkansas early next year while also launching a pilot project for grocery deliveries in North Carolina. Now it’s using the flying robots to help get COVID-19 testing kits to patients, with the retail giant announcing on Tuesday that it has partnered with Quest Diagnostics to deliver collection kits for at-home COVID-19 tests. 

The trial, which is using DroneUp as the drone services provider, will be live in North Las Vegas today and will come to Cheektowaga, New York, in “early October.”

Walmart says that those interested in using the drone delivery must live in a “single-family residence within a 1-mile radius of the designated Supercenters in North Las Vegas and Cheektowaga.” The kits themselves will be delivered on the “driveway, front sidewalk, or backyard of the customer’s home, depending on where there are cars and trees.”

There is no delivery or kit cost for those who want to get the drone-delivered self-test kits. After doing the nasal swab test, the collection kits can be shipped back to Quest Diagnostics with a prepaid shipping label. 

The news shows Walmart is continuing to build on its drone delivery ambitions as it looks to compete with Amazon, Alphabet and UPS for the future of deliveries.

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