Drones have proven to be a versatile platform that offers recreational and commercial uses. The latter has been growing in popularity lately as people consider new ways to handle logistics amid the pandemic. As coronavirus vaccines or treatments remain unavailable to date, prevention is the effective method to keep new transmissions at bay. In an effort to reduce human contact during deliveries, Walmart is now testing its one on-demand service, which will allow its customers to order and have their items flown directly to their designated pick-up point.

The pilot programme for the retailer's new drone delivery system was launched on Wednesday and is currently limited to an area in North Carolina. In the past few months, there have been headlines that focused on the dynamic adaptability of modern technology. There have been instances wherein drones were used to transport testing kits and PPEs to remote hospitals which are difficult to reach quickly by land. Another project even proposed the use of drones to quickly disinfect large areas quickly.

ABC News reports that on-demand drone delivery company Flytrex will provide the fleet that Walmart needs to fulfil orders. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retail group hopes to gather feedback from both its customers and workers regarding the feasibility of its latest venture. Nevertheless, company senior vice president of customer products Tom Ward believes that it will take time before the new option becomes available across the country.

He recently posted a message on their official blog which read: "That still feels like a bit of science fiction, but we're at a point where we're learning more and more about the technology that is available and how we can use it to make our customers' lives easier." Meanwhile, its competitors are also prepared to expand their logistic capabilities with drone delivery services of their own.

Walmart unveils subscription program
As an "essential" retailer, Walmart has benefited during the coronavirus pandemic and will now challenge Amazon Prime with a new subscription service. Photo: AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM

Amazon was just recently granted regulatory approval to ship its packages via drones but claimed that its autonomous fleet apparently still needs more testing. Additionally, Google, which already owns delivery company UPS, was also approved by authorities to conduct drone delivery services. The coronavirus health crisis seems to have spurred the aforementioned companies to adapt and fast-track innovation to overcome limitations.