Walmart is using drones to conduct COVID-19 tests in Vegas

Clients will receive a text message from DroneUp when the Task diagnostics (DGX) The test is on his way. And depending on where the cars and trees are located, groups will land on people’s walkways, front sidewalks, or backyards. Delivery, which may take as little as five minutes, will be free.

The samples can then be sent via FedEx to the Quest Lab, which will send the results digitally.

“We hope that the delivery of self-assembly drone kits will shape contactless testing capabilities on a larger scale and continue to promote the innovative ways Walmart plans to use in delivering drone deliveries in the future,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president of consumer products at Walmart. . Blog post.

For now, the vast majority of Americans will not have access to drone shipments for Covid-19 tests. Walmart (WMT) It plans to expand the drone experience to Cheektowaga, New York – just outside Buffalo – in early October, but no other locations have been announced.

There are restrictions on the program. Drone shipments are only available “until supplies are depleted” between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm and for single-family homes. Deliveries can be prevented through “unexpected physical barriers, power lines, trees, cars, or weather.”

In other words, if you need to get tested for Covid-19 on a rainy day, it probably won’t come via a drone.

To keep failed deliveries to a minimum, Quest Diagnostics said delivery areas will be “cleared in real time” in advance.

Last week, Quest Walmart Advertise Covid-19 tests can now be performed at more than 500 Walmart pharmacy locations in the United States.

The Covid-19 drone testing program is just part of Walmart’s experiments with drones.

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Advance in this month, Walmart launched a pilot drone program with Flytrex To deliver household items and groceries to customers in Fayetteville, North Carolina. And next year Walmart plans to start a separate drone program with Zipline Offer health and wellness programs to clients Near the headquarters of the retail giant in northwest Arkansas.

“We know it will be some time before we see millions of packages being delivered by drone,” Walmart CEO Ward wrote in a separate blog post. “It still sounds like a kind of science fiction, but we’re at a point where we’re learning more and more about the technology available and how we can use it to make the lives of our customers easier.”

Walmart’s competitor Amazon (AMZN) It is also making progress with drone deliveries, albeit at a slower pace than some had hoped. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos It was first announced in late 2013 It plans to use drones to make deliveries in 30 minutes or less.
However, progress has been slow due to drone technology and regulations she Not ready for widespread use – at least not yet. Specifically, the Federal Aviation Administration is still working on ways to do this Remote recognition of drones, A critical step for safety.
In late 2016, Amazon made it The pilot drone delivery began in Britain. And last month, Amazon received critical certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that brought the e-commerce giant one step closer to making US drone deliveries a reality.
UBS (UBS) Wing owning Google section the alphabet (GOOGL), Also obtained FAA certifications in 2019 for drone delivery.
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Matt McFarland of CNN Business contributed to this report.

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