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Walmart Invests in DroneUp Following Successful Drone Delivery Trials


June 17, 2021

Walmart has announced it is making an investment in DroneUp, a nationwide drone services provider, following successful trials of at-home COVID-19 self-collection kits. The company said the investment will continue the company’s work toward developing scalable last-mile delivery solutions. Financial terms of the investment were not released.

In a blog post announcing the investment, Walmart CEO and President John Furner wrote that the company valued DroneUp’s technological expertise, world-class operations and experienced management team, as well as a commitment to help the FAA ensure the highest levels of safety with every delivery. DroneUp operates an on-demand delivery network that matches its database of more than 10,000 FAA-certified pilots with missions nationwide. The service was one of the first operators to use the FAA 107.39 waiver that allows drone delivery flights to be conducted over people and moving vehicles.

“Walmart already has a significant part of the infrastructure in place – 4,700 stores stocked with more than 100,000 of the most-purchased items, located within 10 miles of the U.S. population,” said Furner. “This makes us uniquely positioned to execute drone deliveries, which is why our investment in DroneUp won’t just apply to the skies, but also the ground. In the coming months we’ll be beginning our first operation at a store in Bentonville, Arkansas.”

DroneUp said the Walmart investment will provide the company with resources to continue to develop a scalable last-mile delivery solution, allowing the company to:

  • Built onto a robust technology stack of flight and logistics systems
  • Partner with world-class drone manufacturers
  • Continue to hire leading industry experts
  • Make strategic acquisitions.

In April, Walmart announced an investment in Cruise, which is developing all-electric autonomous vehicles that Walmart uses for order deliveries. The company has worked with Cruise since November 2020 in Scottsdale, Ariz. Between these unmanned deliveries on the ground and in the air, Furner said the goal is to “get customers the items they want, and fast.”

“Conducting drone deliveries at scale is within reach,” said Furner. “DroneUp’s expertise, combined with our retail footprint and proven history of logistics innovation, puts us right where we want to be for that day.”

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