Wing and Walmart have both been developing their own drone delivery platforms for a number of years, and now the two companies are joining forces to launch a drone delivery service in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
In the coming weeks, the diminutive flying machines from Alphabet-owned Wing will fly items from two Walmart Supercenters to customers who’ve placed orders using the appropriate mobile app.
The drones will fly to delivery addresses up to six miles from the store and aim to reach customers within 30 minutes of the order’s placement. The drones will be able to carry a range of items, including quick meals, groceries, household essentials, and over-the-counter medicines.
“Our technology is designed to complement existing delivery offerings, making overall systems more efficient and able to meet real customer needs,” Wing said in a message announcing the new drone delivery service.
The flying machines cruise at 65 mph and use a tether to carefully lower ordered items to the ground to “very precise locations” outside customer homes in urban and suburban areas.
Wings drones are highly automated and “essentially fly themselves,” according to the company. In other words, they’re autonomous but are monitored by remote human operators to check that the flight and delivery go smoothly.
Wing has been testing its drone delivery services in several countries for some time now — including for a number of businesses in Dallas — while Walmart has partnered with other drone specialists such as Virginia-based DroneUp to offer delivery services from a number of its stores across the U.S.
Supporters of drone-based delivery services say they’re faster and greener than conventional delivery methods, though critics voice concerns about the safety of autonomous flying machines as well as noise pollution from the drone’s propellers and motors.
If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and want to know if drone deliveries are coming to your neighborhood, simply download the Wing Drone Delivery App from the App Store or Google Play, create an account, and enter your address.
If you see a “coming soon” message, it means you’ll be able to order on as soon as the service launches, in which case simply check back in the coming weeks to see when the service is up and running.
If the app says you’re not eligible but you live in the right area, then Wing asks you to sit tight as it’ll be adding additional neighborhoods soon. Again, the advice is to check back every so often for updates.