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Walmart, Via Zipline, Starts Delivering Orders By Drone

In partnership with Zipline, the retail giant just launched a pilot drone delivery program in Arkansas.

People in rural Arkansas will be the first in the country to get their Walmart ( (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report) orders dropped into their yards — the retail giant just launched a pilot drone delivery program in partnership with Zipline.

The program will allow residents of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, to order home drop-off by drone for a select number of health and wellness items like allergy medicine, bandages and ibuprofen. 

Launched in partnership with San Francisco-based Zipline, this will be the first commercial drone delivery program that the company launches in the U.S.: The delivery startup started out by making emergency medical deliveries in Rwanda.

"Zipline’s aircraft can help provide immediate access to needed items for both hard-to-reach and at-risk populations, such as rural communities and elderly customers," Tom Ward, senior vice president,Last Mile Delivery, Walmart U.S, said in a press release.

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To make this type of delivery possible, a local Walmart has been equipped with a 25-foot platform on which employees will place orders for pickup by a drone.

 The program will initially start in a 50-mile radius of the store and only extend to "eligible" residents; Walmart told The Verge that this means a group that was "hand-selected" for the pilot.

While many large retailers have experimented with drone delivery programs, the last year has seen a rapid ramp-up in adoption. 

Healthcare services and products Cardinal Health ( (CAH) - Get Cardinal Health, Inc. Report) recently also partnered with Zipline to test delivery of medical supplies to different pharmacies while Walmart competitor Walgreens ( (WBA) - Get Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc Reportrecently partnered with drone company Wing for deliveries in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

At close on Thursday,  (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report stock was up 0.86% at $143.16.