Walmart to test drone delivery of COVID-19 test kits

FILE PHOTO: A shopper is seen without a mask after leaving a Walmart store in Bradford, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 20, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) – Walmart Inc. said on Tuesday it would run a pilot project to deliver self-collection test kits for coronavirus through automated drones at customers’ doorsteps.

The U.S. retailer has partnered with Quest Diagnostics and drone services provider DroneUp, to test-deliver collection kits in north Las Vegas from Tuesday and plans to conduct a trial run in Cheektowaga, New York in early October.

Earlier this month, Walmart piloted drone delivery of grocery and household products in Fayetteville, North Carolina, as it accelerated the expansion of its pickup and delivery services with virus-wary consumers preferring home delivery.

The drones launched on Tuesday will drop the COVID-19 self-collection kits on driveways, front sidewalks or backyards of homes within a one-mile radius of designated Walmart stores.

Customers can self-administer the nasal swab and send back samples to Quest Diagnostics for testing.

Walmart has also teamed up with Zipline to make on-demand deliveries of select health and wellness products near its headquarters in northwest Arkansas.

(Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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