DroneUp inks deal with Walmart, acquires AirMap
Walmart deal will create drone delivery hubs
Virginia Beach-based DroneUp LLC is making moves at the end of the year, with a new partnership with Walmart Inc. and the acquisition of Santa Monica, California-based AirMap Inc., a company specializing in air traffic management software for drones.
DroneUp and Walmart will have the first multisite commercial drone delivery operations, or hubs, in northwest Arkansas, according to a news release from DroneUp.
A Walmart store in Farmingham, Arkansas, is the first to offer drone services to customers, delivering within about 30 minutes. Two more stores, a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Rogers, Arkansas, and a Walmart Supercenter in Bentonville, Arkansas, will be the next two to feature drone delivery in the coming months.
“When we invested in DroneUp earlier this year, we envisioned a drone delivery operation that could be quickly executed and replicated across multiple stores,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president of last mile at Walmart U.S., in a statement. “Opening our first hub within months of our initial concept showcases DroneUp’s ability to safely execute drone delivery operations with speed. We’re already hearing great customer feedback at our first site in Farmington, Arkansas, and look forward to opening additional locations.”
Walmart already has the infrastructure in place to serve more than 4,700 stores stocked with the 120,000 of the chain’s most-purchased items, according to a news release.
DroneUp announced the acquisition of AirMap Tuesday. Financial terms were not disclosed.
AirMap specializes in flight traffic management software for unmanned aerial vehicles, connecting airspace authorities with the drone ecosystem to exchange information about the low-altitude airspace traffic management environment using a cloud-based dashboard. It’s one of three international platforms for unmanned aircraft traffic management, according to DroneUp.
“We’ve integrated with the best aerospace teams to bring drone delivery and flight services to market faster and more economically with our patented flight management software, and now the industry’s No. 1 UTM solution,” said DroneUp CEO Tom Walker in a statement. “We believe DroneUp has a moral obligation to continue investment in and expansion of the AirMap platform. We will ensure this resource remains openly available to the drone industry, municipalities and the Federal Aviation Administration.”