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Thursday, February 2, 2023

DroneUp’s Walmart launch elevates Texas in drone delivery


Texas seems to be the hotspot for drone delivery in the U.S. This week, drone delivery company DroneUp announced that it has officially kicked off its drone delivery operations, these ones in partnership with Walmart.

The news was first announced in May 2022 with a promise that operations would begin by the end of the year. With just a couple weeks to go before 2022 closes out, DroneUp’s delivery promise looks to be delivering. And now, 11 Walmart stores in the Dallas-area can deliver items to select customer homes.

How DroneUp’s Walmart deliveries work in Texas

Walmart has made about 10,000 items eligible for delivery. There is a 10-pound weight limit on what can be delivered, but even fragile items like eggs are eligible for delivery.

The operations are somewhat limited in scale, as you’ll have to live within a mile of a participating store in order to be eligible for drone deliveries. The participating stores (for now) are:

  • Neighborhood Market #2975
    3959 Broadway Blvd, Garland, TX 75043
  • Walmart Supercenter #3224
    555 W Interstate 30, Garland, TX 75043
  • Walmart Supercenter #1800
    1801 Marketplace Dr, Garland, TX 75041
  • Walmart Supercenter #2973
    115 West Fm 544, Murphy, TX 75094
  • Neighborhood Market #5657
    3100 Custer Rd, Plano, TX 75075
  • Neighborhood Market #2974
    1501 Buckingham Rd, Richardson, TX 75081
  • Neighborhood Market #2976
    915 N Town East Blvd, Mesquite, TX 75150
  • Neighborhood Market #3015
    2827 S Buckner Blvd, Dallas, TX 75227
  • Neighborhood Market #5021
    2275 Gus Thomasson Rd, Dallas, TX 75228
  • Walmart Supercenter #3225
    2501 Lakeview Pkwy, Rowlett, TX 75088
  • Walmart Supercenter #426
    4691 State Highway 121, The Colony, TX 75056

If you live in one of those lucky locations, here’s how you can get a drone to bring Walmart products to your home:

  1. Navigate to www.droneupdelivery.com (not Walmart’s website) to place your order. Orders must be placed between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. local time.

2. Enter your address to ensure you live in an eligible location.

3. Shop for items on DroneUp’s website.

4. Checkout online just as you would with any standard online purchase, and pay the delivery fee of $3.99 (promo code FreeDeliveryTX waives your first delivery fee).

5. Wait for your order to arrive in your yard (it typically takes more than 30 minutes for it to arrive). The order is delivered using a cable that lowers the package into your yard, while the drone remains hovering in the air above.

How Texas became a hotspot for drone delivery

This week’s news means that Texas hosts at least three drone delivery companies: Wing, Flytrex and now DroneUp.

There’s Google-sibling Wing, which operates in Frisco, a suburb of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Its operations, which launched in late 2021, deliver items from Walgreens, with drones based out of a small shipping container located at existing Walgreens stores. What’s unique about Wing’s operations is that Walgreens employees (rather than Wing personnel) are the ones processing and loading packages onto the delivery drones.

Then there’s 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.

Dallas, Texas can also claim title to being the first major metro in the U.S. and the largest overall metro area to be participating in drone deliveries.

Drone delivery isn’t the only aspect of the industry thriving in Texas. Over in Plano, Texas, you’ll find the AT&T 5G Innovation Studio, where drones are in the spotlight in terms of 5G testing.

Walmart Texas DroneUp

What’s next for DroneUp’s drone deliveries

Back in early 2022, DroneUp promised that it would operate in five other U.S. states besides Texas by the end of the year: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Utah and Virginia. DroneUp still says it’s on track to meet that goal, promising to make drone delivery available to 34 stores across 23 cities in those six states before 2022 closes out.

In fact, Arkansas is already up and running. The same week that DroneUp’s deliveries in Texas launched, DroneUp also began operations in Arizona and Florida. Utah is set to launch sometime next week.

DroneUp was founded in 2016 and is headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Most of its deliveries are done in partnership with Walmart — perhaps unsurprising given that the retail giant announced an investment of an undisclosed sum in DroneUp in June 2021.

Separately, Walmart has partnered with California-based Zipline to test drone deliveries with a select group of customers in Pea Ridge, Arkansas.

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