Sept. 22, 2020
By Tom Ward, Senior Vice President, Customer Product, Walmart
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Walmart has remained focused on serving our communities, be it through innovating around contactless ways to shop or through our 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.
In recent weeks, we’ve announced two drone trials, one to deliver select grocery and household essentials, and another to test delivery of certain health and wellness products. Now Walmart is piloting drone delivery of at-home COVID-19 self-collection kits, an innovative new way to provide additional, and contactless, testing options. Walmart has partnered with Quest Diagnostics and DroneUp, a nationwide drone services provider, to launch trial deliveries of collection kits in North Las Vegas today and Cheektowaga, New York, in early October.
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, depending on where there are cars and trees. 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. 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.