Walmart seeks govt nod for using drones

28 Oct '15
2 min read

After Amazon and smaller companies seeking exemptions from government drone rules, retail giant Walmart has become the latest US retailer to ask for permission to test drones for making deliveries to customers in its parking lots and at customers' homes, according to media reports.

Walmart also wants to use the aerial technology to check on its buildings, warehouses and distribution centers and has applied to the Federal Aviation Administration for an exemption from current regulations.

Walmart has tested drones inside its facilities but now wants to do outdoor tests. To do that, it needs FAA permission to operate "small unmanned aircraft systems," as the industry calls drones.

Walmart is using drones in an effort to create a more efficient supply chain, company spokesman Dan Toporek said.

“You test for a reason,” he said, "because you learn during tests and you tend to evolve and figure out which approaches are most compelling to customers and most efficient for the business.”

Toporek said Walmart is ready to start outdoor tests immediately if the FAA gives approval.

The FAA will review Wal-Mart's petition to determine whether it is similar enough to earlier successful applications to be fast-tracked, or whether it would set a precedent for exemptions, requiring regulators to conduct a detailed risk analysis and seek public comment, agency spokesman Les Dorr said. The FAA normally aims to respond to such petitions in 120 days.

Till October 22, the FAA has granted 2,020 permits for commercial drones for purposes such as aerial photography, pipeline inspection and agricultural monitoring. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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