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11/22/2021

First Look: Walmart’s Airport Hub for Drones

Get a look at residential drone delivery operations at the new airport “Hub” in Farmington, AR.
Jamie Grill-Goodman
Senior Editor
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Walmart is now offering residential drone delivery of consumer goods from its first airport “Hub” in Farmington, AR.

a boat parked at a dock
Photo credit: DroneUp

The news comes just days after Walmart announced autonomous drone delivery is available for shoppers in Pea Ridge, AR.

The retailer’s first DroneUp Airport Hub is located at the Walmart Neighborhood Market in Farmington, AR, to offer delivery in as little as 30-minutes. Walmart teamed up with DroneUp, LLCa global provider of drone technology and services, for the launch. Two additional locations at Walmart Neighborhood Market #5837 in Rogers, AR, and Walmart Supercenter #100 in Bentonville, AR, are planned to open in the coming months.

“When we invested in DroneUp earlier this year, we envisioned a drone delivery operation that could be quickly executed and replicated across multiple stores,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president of last mile at Walmart U.S. “Opening our first hub within months of our initial concept showcases DroneUp’s ability to safely execute drone delivery operations with speed. We’re already hearing great customer feedback at our first site in Farmington, Arkansas, and look forward to opening additional locations.” 

DroneUp’s delivery operation is achieved through a combination of factors that include airspace-aware dynamic route automation, highly redundant communication and flight management systems, and a crew of skilled operators. As a result, the company can deliver multiple and simultaneous deliveries, day and night, accurately while also ensuring that the delivery is gentle enough for fragile items.

Consumers can currently order online to verify delivery in the Farmington, AR, area at droneupdelivery.com. The delivery service operates from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., seven days per week.

“Partnering with Walmart to launch our first drone delivery Hub marks a significant leap forward in the broader use of UAS to provide last-mile consumer delivery services and supply chain efficiency options,” said Tom Walker, CEO, DroneUp. “Walmart and DroneUp provide an unrivaled ability to pick, pack, and deliver via drones directly from the store to consumers offering efficiencies no other retailer can match. We are proud of our team’s ability to deliver the technology helping Walmart launch a new era of commercial drone operations.”       

DroneUp has worked closely and continuously with the FAA to ensure the safe operation of drones in the National Airspace and has more than 190 active waivers and authorizations with the FAA to support DroneUp flights across the U.S. Its patented software platform includes nearly 20,000 drone pilots nationwide. In addition, it was the first operator to use the FAA 107.39 waiver for overflight of people and moving vehicles for delivery. This operation allows for flights to be conducted over people and moving vehicles.

DroneUp is one of 16 FAA-approved UAS Services Suppliers (USS) authorized to provide Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capabilities (LAANC) services – the ability to automatically approve UAS operations for licensed drone operators who have appropriately submitted flight authorizations in the DroneUp app--to the UAS community on behalf of the FAA.