Walmart Pilots Drone Delivery of COVID-19 Tests

September 24, 2020

Walmart is piloting drone delivery of at-home coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) self-collection kits.

Walmart is piloting drone delivery of at-home coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) self-collection kits, which provides a contactless testing option amid the pandemic, the retailer said.

Partnering with Quest Diagnostics and DroneUp, Walmart is launching trial deliveries of collection kits in Las Vegas, Nevada this week, and then Cheektowaga, New York, in early October, the retailer said in a blog post on its web site.1

Walmart also partnered with Zipline to test on-demand deliveries of select health and wellness products in mid-September.2

“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,” wrote Tom Ward, senior vice president of customer product at Walmart.1 “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.”

Notably, Walmart said there is no delivery or kit cost for customers electing to receive an at-home kit delivered via drone.1

Patients who qualify for drone delivery of the COVID-19 self-collection kits must live in a single-family residence within a 1-mile radius of designated Walmart Supercenter stores in North Las Vegas and Cheektowaga.1

The kits will land on the driveway, front sidewalk, or backyard of the customer’s home, depending on where there are cars and trees. Once the kits are delivered, the person will perform a self-administered nasal swab at home and send their sample back to Quest Diagnostics for testing using the included prepaid shipping label.1

Meanwhile, trial drone deliveries of health and wellness products will take place near Walmart’s headquarters in Northwest Arkansas using Zipline’s proprietary technology, Ward wrote. Zipline will operate from a Walmart store and can service a 50-mile radius. According to Ward, this operation will likely begin early next year, and, if successful, will expand.2

References:

1. Walmart now piloting drone delivery of COVID-19 at-home self-collection kits. Walmart; September 22, 2020. Accessed September 24, 2020. https://corporate.walmart.com/newsroom/2020/09/22/walmart-now-piloting-drone-delivery-of-covid-19-at-home-self-collection-kits

2. Walmart and Zipline team up to bring first-of-Its-kind drone delivery service to the United States. Walmart; September 14, 2020. Accessed September 24, 2020. https://corporate.walmart.com/newsroom/2020/09/14/walmart-and-zipline-team-up-to-bring-first-of-its-kind-drone-delivery-service-to-the-united-states