The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Aviation technology has come a long way in recent years. Drones, formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are able to fly without the need for an on-board human pilot. UAVs utilize various types of ground-based controllers but many are human-operated. UAVs were first used by the military and underwent decades of development before the technology was released for civilian use. There are currently six main classifications for UAVs and a number of developing regulations for the technology.
The New Plan
Beginning in October 2019, Walgreens is planning on testing a new delivery service using drones. The technology will be provided by a company that belongs to the parent company of Google, Alphabet. Wing Aviation LLC, the company owned by Alphabet, will initially test the delivery service in Christiansburg, West Virginia. Drone delivery will allow Walgreens to deliver items from its stores to its customers within minutes of the customer placing the order. While the service will initially be offered in only one market, Walgreens plans on expanding the service throughout the United States if the operation is successful.
Christiansburg, West Virginia
The choice to test the new Wing Aviation service in Christiansburg, West Virginia stems from the fact that Wing Aviation has been developing their technology with Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Both companies will contact residents of the town prior to the launch of the new program.
Walgreens is planning on making over 100 items available to their customers by drone delivery. The available items will be from a list of the most popular items that Walgreens stocks. Prescriptions and pharmaceuticals, however, won’t be available through the service.
The new drone delivery service that is being offered by Walgreens and Wing Aviation will allow for a new use of UAV technology. Nearly 80 percent of the population in the United States lives within a five minute radius of a Walgreens location. Therefore, the service will be expandable if it is successful in Christiansburg, West Virginia. The service is expected to promote speedy and convenient deliveries to customers. The service will also help the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Integration Pilot Program with regulations for UAVs.