Walmart is far from a stranger to drone deliveries, having partnered with multiple drone delivery companies including DroneUp, Flytrex and Zipline. But while a non-Drone Girl reader very likely has never heard of any of those companies before, the newest Walmart drone delivery partner is absolutely a household name. That’s Wing, and it’s the drone delivery spinoff of Google.
Wing and Walmart announced this week that the duo would be teaming up to offer on-demand drone deliveries of Walmart items, powered by Google’s parent company, Alphabet.
When (and where) are the Walmart drone deliveries coming?
The new Walmart drone delivery service powered by Wing will be offered from two stores in the Dallas area in the coming months, adding to Walmart’s existing drone delivery footprint of 11 hubs in Texas.
The Walmart Supercenter at 8555 Preston Road in Frisco will be the first to launch under the Wing and Walmart partnership. The second center has not yet been named.
Once operations begin, customers can download the Wing app from the App Store or Google Play. From there, they can enter their address, so the app can determine if their home is within the Wing drone delivery range. For the most part, drone delivieres will be available to homes within approximately 6 miles of the stores.
If they live at an eligible home, customers will be able to order items including food (even frozen treats or fragile items like eggs), as well as other household essentials.
The drones will also only operate during daylight hours, with hours of operations between10:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. The drones also get one day of rest. The Wing and Walmart drone deliveries will operate six days a week (closed on Wednesdays).
Wing’s Texas footprint
This is not Wing’s first time operating delivery drones in Frisco, Texas. In late 2021, Wing started a project to deliver items from Walgreens, with drones based out of a small shipping container located at existing Walgreens stores.
Other companies have also found major success in Texas. That includes Flytrex, which in early 2022 began delivering food from Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy to customer homes in Granbury, Texas, which is a small town just outside of Dallas-Fort Worth.
A history of Walmart drone deliveries
The news of the collaboration between Wing and Walmart is part of Walmart’s ongoing work delving into drone delivery. Walmart has seen drone delivery as a way to provide customers with additional access to convenient and quick delivery for retail items they want and need most. In fact, Wing recently announced that it had completed 10,000 drone deliveries.
All of those deliveries thus far have been executed by companies that are not Wing. Walmart worked with another company called Flytrex as early as 2020. In 2021, Walmart started working with DroneUp (Walmart also invested an undisclosed sum of money in the company at that time). And in 2022, Walmart launched a new partnership with Zipline, which is largely considered the largest drone delivery provider out there. Under the Zipline partnership with Walmart, customers in Arkansas can get select health and wellness and consumable items from Zipline’s fixed-wing drones.
As of January 2023, 36 Walmart stores in the U.S. had drone delivery hubs either by DroneUp, Flytrex and Zipline, across seven U.S. states. Of course, that’s set to expand with the Wing partnership.
Working with Wing directly aligns with our passion for finding innovative and eco-friendly last mile delivery solutions to get customers the items they want, when they want the,” said Prathibha Rajashekhar, a vice president at Walmart. “With drones that can fly beyond visual line of sight, we’re able to unlock on-demand delivery for customers living within an approximate 6-mile range of the stores that offer the service.
Rajashekhar said that the additional support from Wing will allow the company to reach an additional 60,000 homes.
And while other retail giants like Amazon have lagged in their early drone delivery ambitions, that’s hardly the case for Walmart. Given Walmart’s brick-and-mortar power, the company could be in a unique position to scale drone deliveries, particularly because its 4,700 Walmart stores are already located within 90% of all U.S. residents. Those stores, which typically have large parking lots, can also double up as warehouses to store products delivered via drone, as well as ‘airports’ to house the drones and handle their takeoff and landings.
And what’s more is that Walmart simply seems to be having fun with it. Earlier this month, Walmart celebrated its 10,000 drone delivery milestone with a goofy, albeit delightful social media stunt. Dunking a giant Oreo cookie into milk via drone.