Drugstore major Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) is partnering with Alphabet (GOOG) subsidiary Wing Aviation to test an on-demand drone delivery service.
In what the companies describe as an industry first, the pilot program plans to offer store-to-door delivery of the retailer’s items in minutes.
Wing, the first drone operator certified as an air carrier by the Federal Aviation Administration, will begin offering drone delivery service to eligible residents of Christiansburg in western Virginia beginning next month, according to the release.
The Deerfield, Ill., drugstore chain said Christiansburg was chosen as the test market because Wing has been working closely with nearby Virginia Tech in Blacksburg to test drone delivery as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Integration Pilot Program.
“Although currently a pilot in one market, Walgreen’s is in a unique position to capitalize on the convenience of drone delivery if and when it should expand, with approximately 78 percent of the U.S. population living within five miles of a Walgreen’s-owned store,” the companies said.
Initially, Walgreen’s said, the program will offer customers more than 100 of the chain’s most popular products, individually and in pre-selected packs. Prescription deliveries won’t be available in the program, the company said.
The two companies in coming weeks will be reaching out to residents of Christiansburg to explain the program. And they’ll be doing a drone-delivery demonstration later this month.
Shares of Walgreen’s were up 0.4% to $54.64, while Google parent Alphabet’s stock rose 0.6% to $1,239.28.