For those unable or unwilling to leave home for a COVID-19 test, Walmart is trying out a unique experiment: bringing the test to customers’ homes, via drone.
The idea is to provide more contactless testing, while making the process less of a hassle. The firm is teaming up with drone services provider DroneUp and Quest Diagnostics to test-deliver the collection kits. The first pilot program has kicked off in north Las Vegas, while another is set to begin next month in Cheektowaga, NY.
Depending on access, the drones leave the COVID-19 self-collection kits on driveways, front sidewalks or backyards of homes located within a mile of selected stores. Users then perform self-administered nasal swabs in their home and send their sample back for testing.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, Walmart has remained focused on serving our communities, be it through innovating around contactless ways to shop or through our COVID-19 testing,” Tom Ward, Walmart senior vice president of customer product, wrote in a blog post on the retailer’s website.
The Arkansas-based retailer has also teamed up with Zipline to deliver health and wellness products near its headquarters in Bentonville.