BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Walmart is partnering with the startup Flytrex to pilot a new on-demand drone delivery service, the company announced in a release on Wednesday.
The pilot, which focuses on delivering “select grocery and household essential items” from Walmart stores, launched on Wednesday in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The Bentonville-based retailer said it could be “some time” before drone delivery becomes a day-to-day reality for customers, but that it can learn from the pilot to “shape the potential of drone delivery on a larger scale.”
“We know that it will be some time before we see millions of packages delivered via drone. That still feels like a bit of science fiction, but we’re at a point where we’re learning more and more about the technology that is available and how we can use it to make our customers’ lives easier,” the company said in its release.
According to the Flytrex website, the company’s delivery service is “the first of its kind to bring on-demand drone delivery convenience to the suburbs.”
Its drones can carry up to 6.6 pounds for a distance of 3.5 miles and back, cruising at 32 miles per hour at an altitude of 230 feet. The company says its current drone does not fly in the rain or at wind gusts stronger than 18 miles per hour.
Flytrex is part of the Federal Aviation Administration UAS Integration Pilot Program (FAA IPP).
According to FAA, the program has “brought state, local, and tribal governments together with private sector entities, such as UAS operators or manufacturers, to test and evaluate the integration of civil and public drone operations into our national airspace system.”