Walmart patents in-store drones

Looking to revolutionize in-store merchandise fulfillment, Walmart has been granted a patent for a model of in-store drones.

Walmart first flirted with drone technology in October of 2015, testing out two versions of drones - Walmart

The in-store drone means customers would no longer have to track down a store employee in order to find an item from the back room. The new system would carry merchandise between backrooms and storage areas to drop-off locations around the store. The drones will use a series of nets and hooks to move the items. 

While human employee interaction would still be the priority, the dispatching drones would spring into action if there were not “enough employees available to assist customers in as timely a manner as the customer might wish,” as per the patent filing’s documentation.

Stores that feature drones would be installed with an automated air traffic controller to help drones maintain a safe flight path. Walmart predicts that sensors installed inside the drone would allow the drones to move around customers and fly over and around store aisles. 

Of note, while the patent allows Walmart to implement a project, Walmart has not made a public statement about any plans to implement drones in-stores.

While Amazon has been groundbreaking with its drone delivery service, making its first drone delivery this past December, not many other retailers have been quick to adopt to drone technology at all, let alone inside a retail store. 

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