You order an item from Walmart. It goes from a central warehouse to a local distribution center, typically via a diesel-powered truck. From there, it goes into another diesel-powered truck and gets delivered to your door. That means there are a lot of carbon emissions associated with getting that package to you. Not only that, but Walmart has to pay the salaries of the people who drive those trucks and deliver those packages. It also has to buy the trucks and the fuel to operate them, as well as cover maintenance costs.
But now Walmart says it will be delivering packages that weigh 10 pounds or less to customers in certain parts of Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah, and Virginia by drones that lower the packages to the ground via a cable. The service will be provided in cooperation with DroneUp and should begin before the end of this year. The company says as many as 1 million packages could be delivered by drone each year at a cost of $3.99 each. There are 4 million people living within the parts of the US where drone delivery is available. It will be the largest drone delivery service in America when it begins.
According to The Guardian, Walmart hasn’t released any details of its drone delivery system, such as how squadrons of drones would operate in newly congested airspace or how potential conflicts with other drone operators would be resolved. Some argue that drone delivery will be more energy efficient than using trucks powered by fossil fuel and will also help reduce urban air pollution.