Walmart Drone Delivery?

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Walmart seeks FAA permission to test run drone delivery system

Walmart has been conducting indoor tests using Phantom 3 and S900 drones, both of which are manufactured by SZ DJI Technology of China, and is ready to move forward to outdoor testing, said Dan Toporek, a spokesman for Walmart.

Walmart is seeking permission to use the drones to take stock of the contents inside trucks parked at its warehouses. Drones can also deliver groceries to pick-up points at store parking lots. Furthermore, Walmart wants to test whether drones can successfully make home deliveries in small residential neighborhoods after obtaining permission from the households in its flight path, according to a copy of the application reviewed by Reuters.

The Federal Aviation Administration could take up to 120 days to review the application. If the FAA approves Walmart’s application, the retail giant will be joining Amazon and Google in the competition over e-commerce services.

The FAA is hoping to finalize its regulations on commercial drone use in the next eight months, said FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker to Reuters.

Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Toporek said the company would move quickly to deploy drones depending on its tests and regulations.

“Drones have a lot of potential to further connect our vast network of stores, distribution centers, fulfillment centers and transportation fleet,” he said. “There is a Walmart within five miles of 70 percent of the U.S. population, which creates some unique and interesting possibilities for serving customers with drones.”

Finding ways to more efficiently warehouse, transport and deliver goods to customers has taken on new importance for Wal-Mart, which this month projected a surprise decline in earnings next year as it copes with costs to increase wages, beat back price competition and boost online sales.

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