RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The future of grocery shopping is coming to Richmond in 2022.

Walmart has partnered with DroneUp, a company based out of Virginia Beach, to deliver packages up to ten pounds right to your home in 30 minutes.

“In terms of the operation, once the order is placed, the customer is given a notification that we are selecting and packing their order. You get a notification that your order is on the way,” Chief Technology Officer for DroneUp John Vernon said.

DroneUp pilots will operate the drones from an air traffic control tower set up at select participating Walmart stores. The pilots can currently fly up to 30 feet and between 80 to 100 feet from the nearest Walmart.
“We are starting small with the idea that we can deliver to a certain set of customers,” says Vernon. “Then, as we continue to improve a certain set of operations, we will be expanding to three, five, and ten miles, as both capabilities and regulations allow.”

While ground transportation is still an option to deliver packages and groceries, DroneUp wants to utilize the free airspace to help customers economically and logically. Adding drones to delivery services takes cars off the road, fewer packages in delivery trucks and reduces the cost for customers. Delivery services starting at $3.99.

“We ensure that we fly over roofs, crossroads perpendicularly, and pause if we have to. There are many people in place to manage the safety aspect of the operation,” Vernon said, when asked about the security and safety of the drones.

Richmond is currently one of six cities to be the future home of the delivery service. Still, DroneUp has successfully delivered items for over a year with Walmart. When asked if there was one product that continuously gets delivered, Vernon quickly answered, “Ironically, the number one item has been Hamburger Helper.”