Walmart is testing drones for use at its warehouse


Walmart Stores Inc. is testing drones for use at its warehouses.

During a media tour of a distribution center, the Bentonville, Arkansas, retailer said recently it is testing warehouse drones and could roll them out to other distribution centers over the next six to nine months.


The warehouse drones capture images — up to 30 pictures a second — in real time and mark missing items for inventory. The drones can check a full warehouse inventory in about a day, a process that can take a full month if done manually.

«We’re always looking at how emerging technology can enhance our supply chain. Last year, we started a special team to help us do that. Some of the technology we’re looking at includes augmented reality, virtual reality, micro-warehouses, hyperlocal distribution centers and drones,» Wal-Mart recently said in a press release.

The move is another attempt to push the discount retailer’s advantage against online retailers such as Amazon, who launched its own drone program, Prime Air, in recent years. On June 6, Wal-Mart announced that it was partnering with Uber and Lyft to offer home grocery delivery, in a bid to complete with Amazon’s same-day services.

«Walmart will start with tests of grocery delivery through Uber in Phoenix and Lyft in Denver, which we expect to start within the next two weeks. This is in addition to a very quiet Sam’s Club pilot that started in March with Deliv involving delivery of general merchandise and grocery for business members in Miami,» Wal-Mart said.


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