Walmart joins Amazon and Google in testing drone delivery

It was reported that Walmart has applied to the FAA to test drones for home delivery, curbside pickup and checking warehouse inventories.  This would add it to a growing list of companies and projects interested in using a drone for package delivery.  Amazon and Google have indicated their interest … but there are plenty of other development and testing projects going on around the world, with some seeming to be farther along than in the U.S.

In China, the logistics company SF Express is testing drone delivery , while Alibaba Group’s Taobao Marketplace shopping website partnered with China logistics company YTO Express in a one-off trial of drone technology to deliver ginger tea packets.

In Australia, the commercial drone startup Flirtey, first put their package delivery drones into action in March 2015 in a trial sponsored by Trade Me, the largest online marketplace in New Zealand, where they delivered medical supplies to Land Search and Rescue.

In Europe the Finnish company, Posti, completed a four day test of parcel delivery via a drone, while Swiss Post, Swiss WorldCargo and Matternet jointly tested the commercial use of logistics drones for small deliveries.

In the above video from Yahoo! News it was reported that Walmart is interested in testing: 1) taking inventory off of trucks parked at its warehouses; 2) testing if as part of their grocery service they could reasonably deliver grocery packages to store parking lots for pickup by the consumer; and 3) test the feasibility of deliveries to small residential neighborhoods.

It was also reported that Walmart plans to use drones manufactured by China’s SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd. in their test …  the Phantom 3 and S900.

It will be interesting to see how Walmart will be modify the drones to carry/deliver the packages.
The Phantom 3 standard version spec page doesn’t note how much weight it can carry, but it does say, that the flight battery provides for a max flight time of approximately 25 minutes (carrying a package probably variably less). Also the remote controller’s transmission distance is FCC: 1000 m; CE: 500 m (outdoors and unobstructed, aircraft’s altitude at 400 feet (120 m))

The S900 on the other hand, according to the feature page, weighs in at 3.3kg and has a maximum takeoff weight of 8.2kg and used with a 6S 12000mAh battery, it can fly for up to 18 minutes … with the maximum flight time tested on a breezeless day with a payload of 6.8kg, hovering at a height of 2 meters.