Drones Will Deliver Meds in THIS State. Is This “Sci-Fi” Coming to Arizona?
Sci-Fi Takes Flight
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a drone delivering a prescription of antibiotics to my front door!
It sounds like science fiction, but there's a very real possibility drones could soon deliver a prescription - or other goods - right to your front door no matter where you live in Arizona.
Drones have already begun delivering prescription medications in some places around the country. For example, CVS Pharmacies partnered with UPS to deliver prescription medications to residents who live in a nearby retirement community. Delivery service to The Villages began flying in May of 2021, and was touted as the first of its kind in the United States.
The CVS delivery drones can carry up to five pounds and fly up to 12.5 miles from their point of origin. While this service is still in its infancy, there are plans to expand it to other communities soon.
Delivery Drones Come to Arizona - But Not Everywhere
Walmart rolled out their drone delivery service in three states around major metropolitan areas last December. Dallas Texas, Orlando and Tampa Florida, and areas near Phoenix, Arizona all began delivery.
In Arizona, Walmart has drone delivery from select stores in as little as 30 minutes, with some restrictions:
- The entire order must weigh 10 pounds or less
- Deliveries must be within a mile of one of Arizona's four participating stores
- There's a $3.99 delivery fee
Currently, there are only four stores in Arizona that offer drone delivery, two in Glendale and two in Peoria. There are around 10,000 items that fit the criteria for drone delivery, including fragile items like eggs.
The drones fly to their delivery location and lower the package with a cable from 80 feet above the ground. You can track your order status and delivery time on the website. Walmart plans to expand delivery operations to other states and cities in the near future.
Amazon Sending Out Delivery Drones
It only makes sense that Amazon would get in on the rising popularity of drone delivery. The service was first announced back in 2013 but faced challenges that have delayed the rollout. Amazon is working to overcome both technology and infrastructure restrictions.
Engadget recently reported that eligible Amazon Pharmacy customers in College Station, Texas will be able to get their medications delivered via drone within 60 minutes of placing an order. Amazon won't even tack on an extra delivery fee.
When is Drone Delivery Service Coming to the Rest of Arizona?
With so many companies working out the regulations and particulars of drone delivery, it's hard to determine when Arizona might see this option in widespread practice.
There are a few barriers to drone delivery expansion. These factors could impact companies hoping to add this service. Municipalities across the state have different regulations regarding drones, but there are other concerns about:
- The reliability and safety of the drones, especially if they break down, crash, or deliver to the wrong address.
- Who will take responsibility if items aren't received or if they're misdelivered?
- Privacy and security of personal and data information, especially if the drones use cameras and sensors to navigate.
- The impact of increased noise, visual clutter, and wildlife disturbances
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