Walmart (WMT) is gearing up to offer even faster delivery services by employing drones to customers that live in close proximity to its stores through a partnership it formed with DroneUp.

In 2020, Walmart announced it would be teaming up with a nationwide commercial and government-authorized drone-service provider. Together, the two companies underwent a trial where they launched deliveries of at-home COVID-19 self-collection test kits to customers.

Through the test trial period, John Furner, CEO and president at Walmart U.S., said in a statement that Walmart discovered it could offer its shoppers delivery in just minutes and not hours. The retail giant completed hundreds of drone deliveries during these tests from its stores and is now ready to scale the delivery services to a network of customers.

Walmart already has a large portion of the drone infrastructure in place, with 4,700 stores stocked with more than 100,000 of the most purchased items located within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population, which Furner said makes it “uniquely positioned to execute drone deliveries.”

According to Furner, the first drone deliveries will begin in the coming months at a store near the company's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.

“Conducting drone deliveries at scale is within reach,” Furner said. “DroneUp’s expertise, combined with our retail footprint and proven history of logistics innovation, puts us right where we want to be for that day. Because when it comes to the future of drone delivery, we know the sky’s the limit.”

Walmart’s rival Amazon has also stepped into the drone delivery segment for customer packages. The company received federal approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate its Prime Air delivery drones in the U.S. back in August 2020.

As of Thursday at 11:44 a.m. ET, shares of Walmart were trading at $138.08, up $0.93, or 0.68%.

jupiter-leadimage-210614 Drone delivering box above Walmart store Photo: Walmart