Walmart is developing its own drone, but this is not to foray into the commercial drone market dominated by Chinese manufacturer DJI. Walmart’s drones would be used to check warehouse inventories in the US.
As predicted, so it has come to pass: after asking the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to start testing drones for things like managing warehouse inventories, Walmart says it’s started that process, and could have the little guys up in the air and on the job in the next six to nine months.
At a media tour Thursday at a distribution center in its hometown of Bentonville, AR, Walmart says the drones would help make the warehouse inventory system more efficient, the Associated Press reports.
The drones will fly around capturing images in warehouses in real time, and flagging misplaced items, doing a job in a day or less that usually takes a month.
When the retailer asked the FAA for permission to go ahead with its testing program, it said it might consider using drones for things like home delivery and curbside grocery pickups, but it’s unclear if Walmart will be moving ahead on those drone plans as well.
Even so, it’s one more step on a path to compete with that ginormous e-commerce elephant in the room, Amazon, which is currently testing drones for home delivery.
Walmart testing drones in warehouses to manage inventory