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Autonomous drone delivery takes off in the U.S

Autonomous drone delivery takes off in the U.S
August 21, 2023

Walmart recently announced that it teamed up with drone delivery innovator Zipline for autonomous delivery in Pea Ridge, Arkansas. Zipline was one of the earlier innovators in drone delivery and has been around for about a decade.   

Historically, it had been focused on delivering medical supplies to hard-to-reach areas, but it was inevitable to extend into commerce. The partnership is the company’s first U.S. commercial drone delivery service, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. The drones launch off of a long boom that acts in the same way that aircraft carriers launch fighter jets. Take a look!

And when the drone flies over the scheduled delivery location, it simply opens up the hatch on its belly and drops the package. A small parachute is deployed in the process.  Obviously, this kind of technology isn’t suitable for urban locations. It only makes sense in rural areas with single-family homes with plenty of lawns to drop the packages onto. And that’s precisely the point. 

Those kinds of markets tend to be more spread out, less dense, making it more expensive to serve via traditional delivery mechanisms. This kind of drone service can deliver small packages same day, or even same hour, for any urgently needed goods.

It’s easy to imagine Walmart’s that serve rural communities having a Zipline set up on their roof to quickly expand their e-commerce delivery business… and compete against their main competitor, Amazon.

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