Walmart To Test Use Of Commercial Drones For Deliveries

Walmart To Test Use Of Commercial Drones For Deliveries
Walmart has applied for exemptions to the Federal Aviation Administration to test use of drones in improving its supply and distribution systems. Photo by Newnow/Shutterstock

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (UPI) — Walmart has applied to federal regulators for permission to test drones for use in deliveries and for warehouse and store use.

The filing with the Federal Aviation Administration submitted Monday seeks approval to use Chinese-made “small unmanned aircraft systems” in tests at its distribution centers and in deliveries to customers. Walmart’s plans, including outdoor use at its facilities, would require exemption from current rules regarding use of drones.

Several large-scale retailers, including, are experimenting with drones to create a more efficient supply chain.

“You can envision a scenario where a drone is at one of our million-square-foot distribution centers, and it can fly through the center and do inventory work, and we’re thinking, can we fly something from one distribution center to a fulfillment center, or to a store?” said Walmart spokesman Dan Toporek. “Then there’s the idea of curbside pickup. Could you bring goods out to somebody at the corner of the parking lot, for example, using a drone?”

Walmart also wants to test if it can use drones for deliveries to addresses in residential neighborhoods. Its FAA filing indicated it would seek the approval of all property owners along the flight path.

The FAA is charged with creating regulations for commercial drone use and expects to have a written framework established in 2016.


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