The current crisis is providing the opportunity for historic – potentially paradigm-shifting – new projects. Retail giant Walmart has announced another new drone delivery project: one that brings the capabilities of drone technology during a crisis right to people’s doorstep. DroneUp, Quest Diagnostics, and Walmart have partnered on drone delivery of COVID-19 test kits in Las Vegas.
“Drone deliveries will launch from the North Las Vegas Walmart, located at 1807 West Craig Road, to single-family homes within a 1-mile radius of the store,” says a press release. “Learnings from this pilot will help determine what roles drones can play in pandemic response, health care delivery, and retail.”
In fact, this is the perfect opportunity for DroneUp, Walmart, and Quest to demonstrate the value of residential drone delivery. Well beyond simple convenience, contactless delivery systems can play a very real role in arresting the spread of the coronavirus. Drone delivery of COVID-19 tests can speed the process of testing while keeping people quarantined. It’s a practical and immediate improvement in systems in the current pandemic, and one that could lead to greater public acceptance of retail drone delivery.
The drone delivery pilot will be available while supplies last every day from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., weather and visibility permitting. DroneUp CEO Tom Walker is on sight with his team as the pilot launches. “The future growth of our industry relies upon our ability to continually innovate and identify new applications for drone technologies. This operation is another example of DroneUp’s commitment to supporting that mission.” says Walker.
“The kit includes a device for anterior nares (nasal) swab collection, which is the same kit Quest recently made available through its QuestDirect Active Infection Test,” the press release explains. When the kit is delivered, patients self-administer the nasal swab and then ship the sample by mail, using a pre-paid shipping envelope, for processing at the lab. Patients receive their test results on MyQuest, the company’s secure patient portal accessible on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop.
“Quest Diagnostics is proud to partner with Walmart and DroneUp on this innovative pilot program to examine how drones could deliver health care to patients who are unable to leave their home or live in remote locations,” said Dan Haemmerle, General Manager of Extended Care at Quest Diagnostics. “We will take the learnings from this pilot and enhance the ways we deliver health care services to the patients we serve.”
“Walmart has been serving the North Las Vegas community throughout the pandemic with drive-thru testing sites, and we wanted to provide another way to access testing that provides convenience and leverages technology while learning how drones could impact the delivery of healthcare in the future,” said Amanda Jenkins, Vice President of Operation Support and Implementation, Walmart U.S. Health and Wellness “We are grateful to our Quest and DroneUp partners, and our pharmacists and associates, for their support in launching the pilot as we continue to work together during the pandemic.”
“Collaborating to deliver self-collection kits offers further investment into solutions that will advance safe and effective drone delivery,” said Tom Walker, Founder & CEO of DroneUp. “We are honored to partner with Walmart and Quest to pioneer these deliveries and equally as proud to serve our communities.”
From the press release:
To be eligible for drone delivery, patients must live within the 1-mile radius of the North Las Vegas Walmart store and request a drone delivery appointment through www.GetDroneTest.com. There is no delivery cost for patients who qualify to receive an at-home self-collection kit through this pilot program. Patients must also meet CDC and state and local guidelines for testing and must be 18 years of age or older. Patients can visit www.GetDroneTest.com for more information and to determine if they are eligible.
Drive-thru testing in the North Las Vegas Walmart parking lot is available for patients who are not in the drone delivery area or do not meet the requirements, by visiting www.MyQuestCOVIDTest.com. Testing is not available inside any Walmart store or in any Quest Diagnostics Patient Service Center.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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