Walmart pilots drone delivery for COVID-19 tests

Walmart is experimenting with using drones to deliver at-home COVID-19 tests in a bid to provide more contactless testing options, the superstore chain announced Tuesday.

Walmart has partnered with lab company Quest Diagnostics and DroneUp, a drone services provider, to perform trial deliveries of test collection kits in Las Vegas and Cheektowaga, N.Y. The trials will begin immediately in Las Vegas and take place in Cheektowaga early next month.

“Our hope is the drone delivery COVID-19 self-collection kit launch will shape contactless testing capabilities on a larger scale and continue to bolster the innovative ways Walmart plans to use drone delivery in the future,” Tom Ward, Walmart’s senior vice president of customer product, wrote in an announcement.

Patients must live in a single-family residence within a 1-mile radius of designated Walmart stores to qualify for drone delivery of the coronavirus self-collection kits, which will land on the driveway, front sidewalk or backyard of the patient’s home.

Patients will complete a nasal swab test and send the sample back to Quest Diagnostics through a pre-paid shipping label. Walmart said there is no cost for the test or delivery for customers who choose to receive a kit by drone.

Last week, Quest Diagnostics announced that customers can now buy direct-to-consumer coronavirus diagnostic tests online, which can be performed at home or taken to one of 500 Walmart drive-thru locations to use and drop off for delivery. Those tests, including the physician fee, cost nearly $130 out-of-pocket.


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