Walmart’s exploration of flight continues, with an announcement that the retailer, alongside clinical lab Quest Diagnostics and drone services provider DroneUp, is piloting a program to deliver COVID-19 at-home self-collection kits via drone in the North Las Vegas area.
The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer, which is also testing drone delivery of online orders and pharmacy items, said the delivery of COVID test kits will expand to Cheektowaga, N.Y., in early October.
“There’s a lot we can learn from our drone delivery pilots to help determine what roles drones can play in pandemic response, healthcare delivery and retail. We hope drone delivery of self-collection kits will shape contactless testing capabilities on a larger scale and continue to bolster the innovative ways Walmart plans to use drone delivery in the future,” Tom Ward, SVP of customer product for Walmart, said in a blog on the retailer’s website.
The deliveries—available while supplies last every day from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., weather and visibility permitting—will launch from the North Las Vegas Walmart at 1807 West Craig Road to single-family homes within a 1-mile radius of the store.
Residents must request a drone delivery appointment through GetDroneTest.com. They must meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local guidelines for testing and must be 18 years of age or older; there is no delivery cost for those who qualify.
Once delivered, residents will perform a self-administered nasal swab in the privacy before shipping the sample to a Quest Diagnostics lab using a provided prepaid shipping envelope. Test results will be given through Quest Diagnostics’ secure MyQuest online portal or app.
“Walmart has been serving the North Las Vegas community throughout the pandemic with drive-thru testing sites, and we wanted to provide another way to access testing that provides convenience and leverages technology while learning how drones could impact the delivery of healthcare in the future,” said Amanda Jenkins, VP of operation support and implementation for Walmart U.S. Health and Wellness, said in a release