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Walgreens to test drone delivery in Texas

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DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens will launch drone delivery to two cities outside of Dallas  in a joint venture with Google’s drone-manufacturing affiliate, Wing.

The companies will start testing the service next week  in Frisco and neighboring Little Elm north of Dallas.  It will be Wing’s first expansion in the U.S. after years piloting the offering in rural Virginia and parts of Australia and Finland. The drone company, which is owned by Google parent Alphabet, has gradually brought its operations into denser areas.

About 100 Walgreens products items will be available for delivery via the 10-pound drones, including over-the-counter drugs, snacks and cosmetics. Packages are dropped on consumers’ front lawns with a tether.

“When this model launches, Walgreens will be the first U.S. retailer to use this new approach. Walgreens team members will process orders and load packages onto the delivery drones, and Wing will oversee operation of the delivery service. Our first lightweight, co-located operation will be set up at a Dallas-Fort Worth area Walgreens store in its parking lot, serving parts of the city of Frisco and town of Little Elm.  The drones will be able to reach thousands of people within a 4-mile radius of the store,” Wing wrote in a blog post.

Wing’s most extensive drone service has been in Logan, Australia, where the company completed some 50,000 deliveries through August of this year.

Frisco, where the population skyrocketed from about 6,000 in 1990 to around 200,000 in 2020, has billed itself as a testing ground for new transportation modes like self-driving cars and Uber’s flying taxis.

Federal officials started rolling out new rules in mid-April to allow operators to fly small drones over people and at night, potentially giving a boost to commercial use of the machines. Wing says its Texas service will not operate during evening hours.


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