Walmart has applied to test drone delivery in the United States — outlining plans to use unmanned aerial vehicles to drop packages at homes and retail stores — according to an application filed with the Federal Aviation Administration, as reported by Reuters this afternoon.
The move pits the retail giant against its e-commerce rival Amazon in an emerging frontier for delivery and logistics. According to the Reuters report, Walmart is asking the FAA for permission to test drones for “deliveries to customers at Walmart facilities, as well as to consumer homes.”
Unlike Amazon, which is developing its own fleet of custom drones, Walmart plans to use devices from China’s DJI, maker of the popular Phantom line of drones, according to the report. Google has also been experimenting with drone delivery, according to published reports.
Walmart operates more than 4,500 stores in the United States, giving it a large physical presence that Amazon and Google don’t have.
“Drones have a lot of potential to further connect our vast network of stores, distribution centers, fulfillment centers and transportation fleet,” a Walmart spokesman told Reuters. “There is a Walmart within five miles of 70 percent of the U.S. population, which creates some unique and interesting possibilities for serving customers with drones.”