Walmart will test drone deliveries of COVID-19 home test kits in cooperation with Quest Diagnostics and DroneUp in Las Vegas and Cheektowago, N.Y., beginning in early October.
Tom Ward, senior vice president of customer product at Walmart, made the announcement in a blog post on the company corporate website. Ward said since the beginning of the pandemic, Walmart has remained focused on serving communities through innovating around contactless ways to shop or through COVID-19 testing.
“The health and safety of our associates and customers has been our top priority, and we’ve remained dedicated to supporting efforts to expand COVID-19 testing through our drive-thru testing and partnerships with federal and state governments, labs and insurance companies,” Ward said.
The drone test comes on the heels of two other tests announced in recent days with other technology partners to deliver grocery, household and health and wellness essentials in Fayetteville, N.C. and Walmart’s home base in Northwest Arkansas.
The new pilot with Quest and DroneUp will deliver at-home COVID-19 self-collection kits to allow for contactless options. Ward said patients who qualify for drone delivery of the COVID-19 self-collection kits must live in a single-family residence within a 1-mile radius of the designated supercenters in North Las Vegas and Cheektowaga. The kits will land on the driveway, front sidewalk, or backyard of the customer’s home.
There is no delivery or kit cost for customers electing to receive an at-home kit delivered via drone. Once the kits are delivered, the person will perform a self-administered nasal swab in the privacy of their home and send their sample back to Quest Diagnostics for testing using the included prepaid shipping label.
“There’s a lot we can learn from our drone delivery pilots to help determine what roles drones can play in pandemic response, health care delivery and retail,” Ward said. “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.”