By Tonya Garcia
Walmart Inc. announced Tuesday that it will add up to four million more U.S. households to its drove delivery service by year end, thanks to its partnership with DroneUp.
The retail giant expects to add the ability to deliver one million more packages by drone to 34 new sites across six states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
The service is available between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., with delivery of thousands of items in as little as 30 minutes for a $3.99 fee.
“In fact, while we initially thought customers would use the service for emergency items, we’re finding they use it for its sheer convenience, like a quick fix for a weeknight meal,” wrote David Guggina, senior vice president of innovation and automation at Walmart U.S., in a post on the company site.
“Case in point: The top-selling item at one of our current hubs is Hamburger Helper.”
Walmart /zigman2/quotes/207374728/composite WMT +0.71% hopes to use drones for more than just delivery. The company also aims to build out its drone infrastructure to provide services like insurance and real estate to small businesses and municipalities.
Walmart announced its investment in DroneUp in June 2021 . The company also invested in an autonomous vehicle company, Cruise, that year. Walmart began offering drone delivery to locations in Arkansas last year.
Also on Tuesday, Walmart and A.I. supply chain tech company Symbotic Systems announced that it would expand its partnership to include all 42 of Walmart’s regional distribution centers. Previously, the agreement was for 25 of the facilities.
Retrofitting all 42 facilities is expected to take more than eight years.
The technology aims to speed store orders by moving merchandise in a more orderly fashion and increase inventory accuracy.
Walmart stock has bounced 4.2% amid a three-day win streak through Tuesday, after closing May 19 at the lowest price ($119.07) since July 6, 2020. It has tumbled 14.2% for the year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.23% has lost 12.1%.