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Walmart Pilots On-Demand Drone Delivery

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Retail giant Walmart Inc. (WMT) announced the launch of an on-demand drone delivery pilot program with Flytrex, an end-to-end drone delivery company.

The pilot program launches on Wednesday, September 9, in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The pilot focuses on delivering select grocery and household essential items from Walmart stores using Flytrex's automated drones.

Walmart said the the drones are controlled over the cloud using a smart and easy control dashboard. The program will help the company "gain valuable insight into the customer and associate experience, from picking and packing to takeoff and delivery."

"We know that it will be some time before we see millions of packages delivered via drone," Tom Ward, Walmart senior vice president, customer product, said in a blogpost. "That still feels like a bit of science fiction, but we're at a point where we're learning more and more about the technology that is available and how we can use it to make our customers' lives easier."

The drones do not use cameras, the company said, adding that "this is the simplest solution to address any potential privacy concerns."

Flytrex is part of the Federal Aviation Administration UAS Integration Pilot Program and has partnered with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to standardize backyard drone delivery.

In late-August, the Federal Aviation Administration approved Amazon's Prime Air service, which will use drones to deliver packages.

Prime Air will use small drones capable of delivering packages up to 5 pounds in 30 minutes or less. The drones will come equipped with "sense and avoid" technology to ensure the drones operate safely.

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