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The nation's largest retailer has partnered with Israeli drone company Flytrex to start offering autonomous deliveries in the Fayetteville, North Carolina, area.
The pandemic has forced many retailers to rethink how they safely get products to consumers, and several companies have already expanded their drone-delivery tests. California startup Zipline, which has primarily operated across Africa, also started delivering medical supplies in North Carolina in May, and Alphabet's Wing has seen increased demand for its drone-delivery tests in Virginia since the start of the pandemic. Amazon also got approval to deliver via drones in the U.S. earlier this month.
Perhaps the pandemic will prove to be the catalyst that moves drone deliveries from theoretical to practical.
Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.