Walmart Can Now Deliver COVID-19 Tests to Your Doorstep
The Walmart drone delivery began earlier this year with grocery deliveries in North Carolina. Now they are using the new technology to deliver COVID-19 tests right to customers' homes, ensuring a safe and contactless testing experience. If you live in the northern area of Las Vegas, or in Cheektowaga, New York, and your home is close to your local Walmart, you could now be eligible. And the kits are free!
The new program sends a drone to a single-family home within a 1-mile radius of a Walmart location. A self-collection kit is inside a Walmart bag that hangs from the drone on a rope. The drones are from the company DroneUp and can sense where cars, trees, and other large things are. Once the drone reaches the house, the kit is placed in a clear area like a sidewalk, driveway, or backyard.
The kit comes with a nasal swab and a prepaid shipping label. Once the customer has finished, the test is sent through the mail. Instead of going back to Walmart via another drone, tests go to a lab called Quest Diagnostics. There is no contact with another person throughout the experience. (For more on coronavirus safety and shopping, There's Only One Way to Contract COVID-19 When Grocery Shopping, CDC Says.)
The company doesn't say how fast and how far the DroneUp drones fly. For the delivery trial in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Walmart used Flytrex drones. These can travel up to 32 mph and carry over 6 pounds of cargo. They also can reach houses around 3 miles away from the store.
Through the various drone delivery trials, Walmart hopes to see just what they can do with the technology next.
"There's a lot we can learn from our drone delivery pilots to help determine what roles drones can play in pandemic response, health care delivery and retail," says Tom Ward, the senior vice president of customer product. "We hope drone delivery of self-collection kits will shape contactless testing capabilities on a larger scale and continue to bolster the innovative ways Walmart plans to use drone delivery in the future."
If you don't live in an area with drone delivery, definitely note the new changes you'll see at your local Walmart on your next trip!