by Cristina Mircea

Delivery drone manufacturer Zipline initially started as a medical supply provider via autonomous aircraft, operating distributing centers in Rwanda and Ghana. Now the company launches its first commercial drone delivery service in the United States, with Northwest Arkansas being the first region on its list. 7 photos

In order to bring its drone delivery services to Arkansas, Zipline partnered up with Walmart. The two just launched an instant, on-demand delivery service in Pea Ridge, Arkansas, with customers being able to select from a wide range of health and wellness consumable items.

As explained by Tom Ward, senior vice president for Walmart U.S., the service aims to make shopping with Walmart convenient and easy for everyone, including in hard-to-reach areas, the rural community, for the elderly, and so on. Clients will be able to order products such as non-prescription medication, thermometers, an emergency pack of diapers, and other items that fall in this category.

Boasting a 50-mile (80 km) radius when at full capacity, Zipline’s drones can service an area the size of the state of Connecticut.

Zipline and Walmart announced the service in the fall of 2020 and since then, they’ve been busy with the infrastructure, building the 25-ft (7.6 m) platform for the take-off and landing of the drones. The platform houses Zipline’s crew and its autonomous aircraft.

Using the service is a straightforward process. Customers have to download the Zipline app, simply select the products they want to order, and specify the delivery time at checkout. Walmart’s staff will process the order, pack the products, and Zipline’s employees will prepare the drone for launch. Customers can track the status of the aircraft via the app.

Zipline and Walmart’s drone delivery service is now available in Northwest Arkansas.

Since its debut on the market in 2016, Zipline has completed more than 200,000 commercial deliveries, serving over 20 million people across multiple countries.