Walmart seeks FAA permission on drone use for delivery services

26 October 2015 (Last Updated October 26th, 2015 18:30)

Walmart has sought permission from US regulators to test drones for home delivery, checking warehouse inventories and curbside pickup.

Walmart has sought permission from US regulators to test drones for home delivery, checking warehouse inventories and curbside pickup.

For the last several months, the retailer has been carrying out indoor tests of drones and now has sought permission to test the machine outdoors.

The drones are manufactured by China-based SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd, reported Reuters.

Walmart has also sought permission from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for drone usage in goods delivery to customers in Walmart stores as well as to their homes.

The retailer has grown its pickup service to 23 markets. In 2016, it intends to roll out the service to 20 additional markets.

The latest move comes as other firms such as Google, Amazon are testing drones amidst hopes that the FAA will relax down on the commercial use of drones.

Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Toporek was quoted by Reuters as saying: "Drones have a lot of potential to further connect our vast network of stores, distribution centers, fulfillment centers and transportation fleet.

"There is a Walmart within five miles of 70 percent of the US population, which creates some unique and interesting possibilities for serving customers with drones."

In the next one year, the regulatory authority is likely to come up with a regulation, according to FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker's June statement.

Drone usage for commercial purposes is considered illegal right now and companies can seek permission only under rare cases.
FAA spokesman Les Dorr was quoted by Reuters as saying that the agency will look into Walmart's application, check the feasibility and seek public opinion.

The regulatory agency usually responds to petitions within 120 days.