Companies are constantly looking for new ways to get their goods to customers. Most subscribe to the theory that if you're not moving forward, you're going in reverse. Now the nation's largest private employer has decided moving forward could include drones.
A few years back, Amazon announced it was looking for regulatory approval to use drones for package delivery. Some folks balked at the idea that seemed like a scene from "Futurama." But now Walmart is testing the devices:
"Walmart launched a pilot program Wednesday using drones to deliver groceries and household essentials in a North Carolina city. The retail giant is using drones from Flytrex in Fayetteville, where it says it hopes to gain insight into customers' and its workers' experience with the technology," the Associated Press reports.
Are you going to open your door to see a drone dropping off groceries? Unlikely in the next few months. But just the fact that Walmart is testing shows the company must think drones have a chance at being feasible.
Right now, eyes are on USPS as folks try to figure out what's slowing the mail down and if the agency can be fixed. Is there anything more frustrating than having a package get lost in the mail?
Drones will hypothetically bypass all that by launching from a Walmart warehouse somewhere and flying directly to your house to drop off a blue box with goods inside. And the drone wouldn't have to worry about traffic on the highways. Is it still kind of like science fiction right now? Sure. But you may recall when the very idea of online shopping seemed like something only possible in "Star Trek."
So maybe drone delivery isn't so far off. Are there bugs that'll have to be worked out? Sure. But that's what this test in North Carolina is for. Doubtless there will be more tests until you see an option online that says "drone delivery: 45 minutes" on Walmart's website.