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Zipline partnership with Walmart enhances delivery options

by Annette Beard | November 23, 2021 at 1:35 p.m.

City officials joined executives from Wal-Mart and Zipline Thursday morning atop the 25-feet tall platform to learn more about the drone deliveries which will be offered.

The demonstration included a launch, drop of a package, and recovery of the drone.

"This is our first site right here in Pea Ridge right now," said Tom Ward, senior vice president of Last Mile Delivery at Walmart in the United States. "We're excited to learn from it; we've got a lot of things to learn in a store that's right next to it... load in health and wellness items because that's the sort of items customers will really enjoy receiving really fast by drone and we'll learn from that."

Ward said a customer will order the item via an app and he said from order to delivery could be as quick as 30 minutes.

"These things can operate in all kinds of weather conditions," Ward said. "One thing we've learned is that we're a great retailer and Zipline is a great technology partner and when we bring those things together we can do some really magical stuff."

"I want to make sure our customers enjoy the service," Ward said.

Liam O'Connor, chief operating officer with Zipline, said there is a tube inside the drone with a parachute, providing the means that in any event, the drone can be safely dropped immediately.

The drone can make deliveries as far as 50 miles out and 50 miles back, officials said.

Pea Ridge Mayor Jackie Crabtree said: "We're so happy that y'all are here. It's such a blessing to our community."

O'Connor noted the quietness of the drones saying that whereas other drones sound like a swarm of bees, these are quieter than a lawn mower.

"That type of aircraft is being regulated the same way as a commercial passenger jet that's hundreds of tons that's carrying hundreds of people... that's what's made it so hard," French said. "We're partnered very closely with the FAA; they have this system that's built for 747s that's been in the air for decades... the risk profile is so different.

He said there's an "incredible safety record" with the zipline drones overseas.

Planning Commission member Al Fowler and his wife, Kim, were present at the display of the drone's performance.

Construction on the drone launch pad at the Walmart Neighborhood Market began after being approved in January 2021 by the Pea Ridge Planning Commission.

Planning Commission members approved the large scale development plan from Zipline at the May 4 meeting.

Print Headline: Zipline partnership with Walmart enhances delivery options

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