Walmart expands drone pilot to deliver COVID-19 tests

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Walmart expands drone pilot to deliver COVID-19 tests

By Dan Berthiaume - 09/22/2020

Walmart’s latest drone initiative is designed to speed up the delivery of at-home COVID-19 test kits to consumers’ homes.

Walmart is partnering with Quest Diagnostics and nationwide drone services provider DroneUp to pilot drone delivery of at-home COVID-19 self-collection kits. This discounter launches trial deliveries of collection kits in North Las Vegas on Tuesday, Sept. 22 and in Cheektowaga, N.Y., in early October.

Earlier in September, Walmart kicked off a pilot program with end-to-end drone delivery company Flytrex to deliver select grocery and household essentials from Walmart stores using automated drones. Walmart has also been ramping up drive-thru COVID-19 testing at select stores.

Consumers who qualify for drone delivery of the COVID-19 self-collection kits must live in a single-family residence within a one-mile radius of the designated stores in North Las Vegas and Cheektowaga. The kits will land 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 customers electing to receive an at-home kit delivered via drone. Once the kits are delivered, the person will perform a self-administered nasal swab in their home and send their sample back to Quest Diagnostics for testing using the included prepaid shipping label.

“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,” said Tom Ward, senior VP, customer product, Walmart. “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.”