While Amazon is constantly evolving the designs of their own delivery drones, Walmart is going with a plug-and-play solution from a company called Flytrex. And watching their demo video, you’ll notice something unusual about the last-mile delivery method:
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As you saw, Flytrex’s drones hover 80 feet above the target, then slowly lower the package using a winch. “This ensures a quiet and secure delivery,” the company writes.
While this solves the problem of the drone’s exposed rotor blades getting near an impatient recipient or the family dog, it presumably requires some careful packaging, or at least a check to ensure the maximum 6.6-pound load doesn’t exceed the structural integrity of the bag. (Imagine six pounds of oranges in a soggy paper bag, for instance. Perhaps it is for this reason that “Our current drone does not fly in the rain.”)
If two years of testing is any indication, the wire system works well. Flytrex drones have been delivering food orders in Iceland for that length of time:
Walmart has started utilizing the drones this week in Fayetteville, North Carolina, beginning with groceries and household items.