Walmart piloting drone delivery of home COVID-19 tests
Customers near Supercenters in Las Vegas and Cheektowaga, N.Y., are getting a new way to test for COVID-19 without leaving home. Walmart is expanding its burgeoning drone delivery efforts to offer at-home COVID-19 self-collection kits via drone through a partnership with Quest Diagnostics and DroneUp.
The trial deliveries kicked off Tuesday in Las Vegas, with plans for deliveries to begin in Cheektowaga in October.
“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,” Tom Ward, Walmart senior vice president of customer product, wrote in a blog post on the retailer’s website. “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.”
For patients to qualify for drone delivery of COVID-19 self-collection kits, they must live in a single-family residence within a 1-mi. radius of the designated supercenters. Kits ill land on the driveway, front sidewalk or back yard, depending on where there are cars and trees. The kits are delivered free of charge, and once the test is administered, the customers can send the sample to Quest Diagnostics using a 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,” Ward wrote. “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.”