Wal-Mart requested approval from FAA for drone use
Wal-Mart had applied to U.S. regulators for the permission to test drones for checking inventories, home delivery, and pickup. Rumors said the company's move is to compete with Amazon's drone delivery.
The world's largest retailer has been testing drones for indoors. But this time, the company plans to use them commercially.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is requesting the Federal Aviation Administration to allow them to use UAV deliveries to customers from their facilities as well as having drones for inventories of trailers outside the warehouse.
In a news from Reuters, Dan Toporek, a representative from Wal-Mart said, "Drones have a lot of potentials to further connect our vast network of stores, distribution centers, fulfillment centers and transportation fleet."
Toporek noted that it would be interesting to serve customers by means of drones as there is a Wal-Mart store in every five-mile location.
In line with that, top companies like Google also test drones, expecting the FAA to come up with rules regarding its commercial use.
Michael Whitaker, FAA Deputy Administrator, said the agency will finalize the regulation within 12 months, which is earlier than what has been planned.
At this time, the commercial use of drones is not yet legal, but companies could be exempted upon the approval of the FAA.
Around 2000 approvals have been issued by the FAA in the past year for drones to be used commercially, cited on The Wall Street Journal. Correspondingly, the agency has just accelerated such approvals.
It will be favourable with Wal-Mart as the FAA had recently permitted companies to use drones that are made in China, similar to what the e-commerce company is requesting.
At the moment, Wal-Mart pursues drones from a Chinese company, SZ DJI Technology Co. The Shenzhen-based firm is the largest maker of drones in the world with models like DJI Phantom 3 and DJI S900.
Once the company's request has been granted, it will test out home deliveries in near resident neighborhoods, the Consumerist reported.
It seems that Wal-Mart wants to compete with Amazon when it comes to drone deliveries through online. Amazon had just confirmed they will start delivering packages through UAVs soon.