Next week, on Wednesday Sept 16th, Walmart will start delivering groceries, flying actually, to people in North Carolina living within a 6 miles radius from their store and having a backyard garden to receive the groceries from the sky.
The service will make use of drones provided by Flytrex, an Israeli company specialising in drone delivery.
Each drone can deliver a load up to 6.5 pounds (that is about 3kg), which is probably not enough if you thing about grocery shopping for the week, but it can turn handy if you run out of salad and have your guest for the evening knocking at the door. The convenience of having grocery a click away (a smartphone with an app is all you need)
Walmart is not planning to make money for the moment but is eager to initiate this pilot to understand the potential market before deciding how to expand it and turn it into a profitable one. They expect that quite a bit of time will pass before scaling up to millions of delivery.
Personally, I think that drone delivery will pick up in some areas, like in many sub-urban locations in the US. Much trickier is to imagine drone delivery in a urban environment, both for restriction to flying and for landing spots convenient for the drone and for the customer.
For sure, we are going to see quite some changes in this decade on the logistic value chain.