Walgreens says that it will be using drones to deliver packages to residents in two Texas cities next week in partnership with Wing, an affiliate of Google.
The service will begin testing next week in the fast-growing cities of Frisco and Little Elm, situated north of Dallas, reports ABC News.
Drone company Wing has been testing the concept in a Virginia town and parts of Finland and Australia but it will be the first time it would be used commercially in the United States.
“We are gradually moving into denser and denser environments,” said Jonathan Bass, head, marketing and communications, Wing.
Walmart, Amazon, and UPS are also working on drone delivery projects but they are facing technical and regulatory issues.
Americans have also not warmed up to the idea of packages being delivered by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), expressing concerns relating to safety, privacy, and nuisance caused by noisy a machine hovering near or over your house.
Walgreens says around 100 items, including medication, cosmetics, and snacks will be available for delivery by drones when the service starts in Texas in the next few months.
Workers at the stores will take online orders and then load the items on a Wing drone, which weighs around 10 pounds and is powered by two front propellers placed on the wings and 12 vertical propellers.
Though the drone can also be remotely controlled by a human, it will navigate autonomously and when it reaches the buyers’ location, it will release a tether to deposit the package on the front lawn.
According to Wing, it expects most of the deliveries to be made to single-family homes though in Europe it has delivered to apartments.
“The system has very advanced capabilities. It can plan and do millions of simulations before deciding which route is the best and reach very specific locations,” said Bass.
In the first phase, drones will be taking off from the parking lot of the Walgreens store, located in the shopping center near the border of Frisco and Little Elm. From there the drones will cater to people living within a 4-mile radius of the store.
In the city of Logan (Australia), Wing says it has made around 50,000 deliveries in the first eight months of this year.
A pilot project was started on a smaller scale in 2019 in Christiansburg, Virginia.