According to a trial done by Walmart, it is expected that the drone delivery of Covid-19 test will be delivered straight to the home of customers. The deliveries will further be expanded to Cheektowaga, New York by next month.
The kits will be delivered to the patients who have qualified for the test and live under a radius of a mile from a certain Walmart supercentre. Patients will be given a cotton swab to do a nasal test and then are required to send it back to Quest Diagnostics for further testing.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, Walmart has remained focused on serving our communities, be it through innovating around contactless ways to shop or through our COVID-19 testing,” Tom Ward, Walmart senior vice president of customer product, wrote in a blog post on the retailer’s website. “The health and safety of our associates and customers has been our top priority, and we’ve remained dedicated to supporting efforts to expand COVID-19 testing through our drive-thru testing and partnerships with federal and state governments, labs and insurance companies.”
As told by Walmart, there is no kit cost or delivery cost for anyone who has opted for drone delivery; however, there is a prepaid shipping label for return. Quest Lab usually takes 2 days to give the result and less than one day for priority customers.
The locations of the initial delivery are decided by comparing the density of population residing near a Walmart supercentre. People living in an apartment won’t be able to enjoy this facility as DroneUp, the company that is controlling the flights of the drone are only set to deliver to single home family. The kit will be delivered either in the backyard or the front-door, depending upon the blockage experienced due to trees or cars.
“There’s a lot we can learn from our drone delivery pilots to help determine what roles drones can play in pandemic response, health care delivery and retail,” Ward wrote. “We hope drone delivery of self-collection kits will shape contactless testing capabilities on a larger scale and continue to bolster the innovative ways Walmart plans to use drone delivery in the future.”
Here’s how the delivery system will work: when you opt for a delivery, Walmart’s online store authorizes the order and then a pharmacy prepares the kit, puts it in a bag attached to the drone with a long rope, and then flows to the destination. The customer is supposed to open the bag, take out the kit, use the swab, put it back in the bag, which is then taken back to the lab. Sadly, these drones will not deliver you the kit back to your house.