Walmart Looking to Deploy In-store Drones

Walmart has recently filed a patent to use drones in-store to fetch product. The patent describes the vision of the drones being used as: “dispatching an airborne drone to an item located within a retail shopping facility, securing that item of inventory to the airborne drone, and then directing the airborne drone to carry the item of inventory to a delivery area located within the retail shopping area.”

The drones wouldn’t be used in open space in the store for customers’ safety, but the idea is to help shoppers find things more easily and more conveniently in the large warehouse-like stores. Each store would have a computer system that would act like air traffic control for the overhead drones.

This in-store use is an interesting look at drones that differs from other retailers, who tend to be focusing on last-mile delivery.

Much like Amazon’s patent filings last year, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this will become a reality, but it is a pretty clear indicator that Walmart is looking to increase automation within its processes.