Oct. 6, 2020

An innovative trial program implemented last month in North Las Vegas, NV utilizes commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to deliver COVID-19 test kits to area residents.

Walmart partnered with Quest Diagnostics and UAS services provider DroneUp to deliver the kits to residents living within a 1-mile radius of the store on West Craig Rd. The packages are suspended below the drone for the brief flight.

On arrival, the UAS descends to approximately 15 feet over the resident’s yard or driveway and then lowers the bag via a small winch. Customers perform a self-administered nasal swab and return their sample to Quest using an included prepaid shipping label. The kits and delivery are free for residents participating in the program.

“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,” said Walmart Senior Vice-President of Customer Products Tom Ward. Similar tests are planned in Cheektowaga, NY.

The Nevada flights operate within the Class D airspace surrounding North Las Vegas Airport (VGT), which is located 2 nautical miles southwest of the Walmart.

These deliveries follow Walmart’s announcement last month of a pilot program using drones to deliver select grocery and household essential items in Fayetteville, NC.