Published 1:45 PM EDT Sep 19, 2019
Sick on the couch and in need of a cough drop? The kids are home from school and you’ve run out of gummy bears and goldfish?
Starting next month, Walgreens customers in Virginia will be able to get those items, and many more, dropped at their doorstep – by drone.
The retailer will become the first in the nation to deliver purchases on-demand by drone in a pilot program debuting in the city of Christiansburg.
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In a partnership with drone-making company Wing, Walgreens will let customers tap the Wing app and get individual items, like aspirin or tissues, or choose among six packs containing items for allergies, first aid and other needs. A drone will be dispatched to pick up the items, then travel to the customer’s home, delivering the purchases within minutes.
“We are very excited about the partnership and the future of drone delivery,’’ said Vish Sankaran, chief innovation officer for Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
Christiansburg was chosen because it is near the university, Virginia Tech, which has been collaborating with Wing for three years through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Integration Pilot Program.
Christiansburg residents who want to take part in the pilot can go to wing.com/Virginia, for additional information, and Walgreens and Wing will also spread the word by demonstrating the service and other communications.
The drone can cover a distance of six miles each way. And Walgreens will not be the only retailer whose goods are part of the pilot. Customers will be able to get birthday cards, small gifts and even ice cream from Sugar Magnolia, a regional company.
Wing is also teaming up with FedEx to offer drone delivery of packages in certain parts of Christiansburg.
“This trial is intended to demonstrate the benefits of drone delivery by improving access to health care products, creating new avenues of growth for local businesses and exploring ways to enhance last mile delivery service,’’ said Wing CEO James Burgess.
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