Walgreens Expands Testing of 65mph Drone For Delivery Of Meds, Essentials

Expanded drone-delivery service is now available through Walgreens… at least in the Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex. So far.

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Walgreens had previously partnered with Wing – a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc (formerly Google) – to allow customers to use Wing’s drone-delivery app to select from about 100 items and have them delivered to their home by a drone. It was originally in more rural areas for testing but has since grown to larger communities.

“Back when we launched in Virginia, we knew our goal was to deliver more things to people all over the world, which would mean operating beyond small towns,” Jacob Demmitt, U.S. marketing and communications manager for Wing said. “We knew the next frontier would be in major U.S. metros, so we’ve spent a lot of time preparing for this launch with Walgreens.”

Available items include over-the-counter medicines and household essentials, a Walgreens spokesperson said.

It’s Wing’s largest U.S. rollout, and it’s the company’s first drone initiative operated by a customer

“This third-party delivery model will give businesses the ability to reach their customers in faster and cheaper ways than ever before,” said Alexa Dennett, head of communications for Wing.

Drone companies increasingly have been cleared to expand their operations in the U.S. as drone/air-delivery technology improves.

Wing’s drones travel 65 miles per hour and can carry up to 3.3 pounds of goods. Travel time to a destination is typically under 10 minutes, according to Wing, and the drones have a range of 12 miles round trip. The drones are roughly four feet long with a wingspan of over three feet. They weigh approximately 10 pounds, the company said.

“We already promise a 30-minute window through our curbside pickup or through our partnership with DoorDash,” explains Amy Wood, Walgreens district manager, “but you still have to have someone pick it up in those instances. With drone delivery, you don’t have to wait in traffic. The drones are smart and will get the package to the customer much faster. This is the best option for someone who might not have the means to get to the store.”

Walgreens team members will stand by to attach delivery items to lines dropped by hovering drones. The drone then reels in the line and flies to deliver the product to the customer, a Walgreens spokesperson said.

Packages are lowered to the ground for customer pickup the same way. The package automatically unhooks itself and the drone flies back to the staging station where it will charge, Wing said.

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