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沃尔玛正式试点无人机,配送咳嗽药、体温计及其他医疗用品

沃尔玛正式试点无人机,配送咳嗽药、体温计及其他医疗用品

JESSICA MATHEWS 2021年11月23日
沃尔玛预计无人机配送的总时长为30至45分钟。

沃尔玛(Walmart)准备正式启动最新的无人机计划。

六年多来,作为美国最大的零售商,沃尔玛一直没有认真考虑无人机配送,但现在其无人机配送的范围将逐渐扩大。

沃尔玛将与加州无人机公司Zipline合作,在位于阿肯色州豌豆岭一家沃尔玛超市50英里半径范围内,开始使用无人机配送咳嗽药、体温计或其他医疗用品。沃尔玛希望未来美国更多地方的客户都能使用其产品,此次合作是该计划的第一步。

沃尔玛发言人表示:“有些地方以前很难进行商品配送,例如农村社区,而无人机可以将商品送到这些地区,帮助消除按需购物面临的障碍。”

两家公司计划首先进行小范围试点,在阿肯色州西北部的配送站点附近的客户数量不多,并且仅使用五架Zipline无人机。但在Zipline获得联邦审批,允许其微型无人机定期在人群上方和夜间飞行后,该公司将逐步扩大服务客户的数量和配送距离。Zipline发言人称,公司预计将在四个月内取得相关执照。

无人机配送的全过程是:沃尔玛顾客打开Zipline应用下单,然后设置配送时间。沃尔玛超市员工将商品装到一个带有蓝色商标的包装盒,并将其交给Zipline。Zipline则在这家位于阿肯色州小镇豌豆岭的沃尔玛后方设置一个发射台。Zipline工作人员会将包装盒放到无人机下方,无人机起飞,抵达目的地后将带有迷你降落伞的包装盒送达顾客家的前院或后院。

沃尔玛预计无人机配送的总时长为30至45分钟。

图片来源:Jessica Mathews

一段时间以来,沃尔玛一直在测试无人机在日常运营中的应用。2015年,沃尔玛向美国联邦航空管理局(Federal Aviation Administration)申请进行无人机食品杂货配送测试。当时,沃尔玛还曾考虑如何利用无人机技术更高效地跟踪其配送中心的库存情况。但沃尔玛后来改变了策略,放弃了公司的计划,转为与无人机公司合作。之后,沃尔玛分别在北达科他州和北卡罗来纳州、拉斯维加斯,以及纽约州的奇克托瓦加与Flytrex、DroneUp和Zipline三家无人机公司进行了试验。本月晚些时候,沃尔玛计划在阿肯色州法明顿新建一个无人机配送中心。取得联邦航空管理局的豁免后,将在一英里半径范围内进行商品配送。

但沃尔玛与Zipline在豌豆岭的合作,最终将支持该公司扩大配送范围,因为该公司目前开展的其他项目配送范围均为一英里。Zipline公司CEO凯勒·里纳乌多表示,在获得政府部门批准后,Zipline配送沃尔玛订单的范围,将超过康涅狄格州的面积。

里纳乌多表示:“无人机配送的速度是传统物流的10倍。”而且,他还表示无人机成本效益更高、更环保。

这是Zipline在美国建立的首个商用无人机配送站。该公司在全世界还有11个类似的配送站,主要位于加纳和卢旺达。过去五年,这些配送站完成了超过21.5万次医疗用品、疫苗和血液配送。Zipline计划明年将业务扩展到日本。

目前,沃尔玛将通过Zipline无人机配送医疗和健康用品,但未来可能会增加其他商品。

美国的监管制度发展缓慢,导致Zipline、亚马逊(Amazon)、Alphabet和UPS等公司本地业务的发展面临诸多挑战。联邦航空管理局目前正在制定相关规则,允许公司在全程无人监视的情况下定期飞行无人机。目前,Zipline等公司还需要获得政府的豁免,但申请过程存在诸多困难,并且耗时漫长,这成为普及无人机配送面临的主要障碍。

但这些公司在启动无人机配送项目方面仍在不断取得新的进展,尽管推进速度缓慢。当然,今年任何人都别指望能收到无人机送来的圣诞节礼物。(财富中文网)

翻译:刘进龙

审校:汪皓

沃尔玛(Walmart)准备正式启动最新的无人机计划。

六年多来,作为美国最大的零售商,沃尔玛一直没有认真考虑无人机配送,但现在其无人机配送的范围将逐渐扩大。

沃尔玛将与加州无人机公司Zipline合作,在位于阿肯色州豌豆岭一家沃尔玛超市50英里半径范围内,开始使用无人机配送咳嗽药、体温计或其他医疗用品。沃尔玛希望未来美国更多地方的客户都能使用其产品,此次合作是该计划的第一步。

沃尔玛发言人表示:“有些地方以前很难进行商品配送,例如农村社区,而无人机可以将商品送到这些地区,帮助消除按需购物面临的障碍。”

两家公司计划首先进行小范围试点,在阿肯色州西北部的配送站点附近的客户数量不多,并且仅使用五架Zipline无人机。但在Zipline获得联邦审批,允许其微型无人机定期在人群上方和夜间飞行后,该公司将逐步扩大服务客户的数量和配送距离。Zipline发言人称,公司预计将在四个月内取得相关执照。

无人机配送的全过程是:沃尔玛顾客打开Zipline应用下单,然后设置配送时间。沃尔玛超市员工将商品装到一个带有蓝色商标的包装盒,并将其交给Zipline。Zipline则在这家位于阿肯色州小镇豌豆岭的沃尔玛后方设置一个发射台。Zipline工作人员会将包装盒放到无人机下方,无人机起飞,抵达目的地后将带有迷你降落伞的包装盒送达顾客家的前院或后院。

沃尔玛预计无人机配送的总时长为30至45分钟。

一段时间以来,沃尔玛一直在测试无人机在日常运营中的应用。2015年,沃尔玛向美国联邦航空管理局(Federal Aviation Administration)申请进行无人机食品杂货配送测试。当时,沃尔玛还曾考虑如何利用无人机技术更高效地跟踪其配送中心的库存情况。但沃尔玛后来改变了策略,放弃了公司的计划,转为与无人机公司合作。之后,沃尔玛分别在北达科他州和北卡罗来纳州、拉斯维加斯,以及纽约州的奇克托瓦加与Flytrex、DroneUp和Zipline三家无人机公司进行了试验。本月晚些时候,沃尔玛计划在阿肯色州法明顿新建一个无人机配送中心。取得联邦航空管理局的豁免后,将在一英里半径范围内进行商品配送。

但沃尔玛与Zipline在豌豆岭的合作,最终将支持该公司扩大配送范围,因为该公司目前开展的其他项目配送范围均为一英里。Zipline公司CEO凯勒·里纳乌多表示,在获得政府部门批准后,Zipline配送沃尔玛订单的范围,将超过康涅狄格州的面积。

里纳乌多表示:“无人机配送的速度是传统物流的10倍。”而且,他还表示无人机成本效益更高、更环保。

这是Zipline在美国建立的首个商用无人机配送站。该公司在全世界还有11个类似的配送站,主要位于加纳和卢旺达。过去五年,这些配送站完成了超过21.5万次医疗用品、疫苗和血液配送。Zipline计划明年将业务扩展到日本。

目前,沃尔玛将通过Zipline无人机配送医疗和健康用品,但未来可能会增加其他商品。

美国的监管制度发展缓慢,导致Zipline、亚马逊(Amazon)、Alphabet和UPS等公司本地业务的发展面临诸多挑战。联邦航空管理局目前正在制定相关规则,允许公司在全程无人监视的情况下定期飞行无人机。目前,Zipline等公司还需要获得政府的豁免,但申请过程存在诸多困难,并且耗时漫长,这成为普及无人机配送面临的主要障碍。

但这些公司在启动无人机配送项目方面仍在不断取得新的进展,尽管推进速度缓慢。当然,今年任何人都别指望能收到无人机送来的圣诞节礼物。(财富中文网)

翻译:刘进龙

审校:汪皓

Walmart’s newest drone initiative is ready for takeoff.

America’s largest retailer has been toying with drones for more than six years—and now its deliveries will extend further than ever before.

In partnership with California-based drone company Zipline, Walmart will begin using drones to transport items like cough medicine, thermometers, or other health products to its customers within a 50-mile radius of a store in Pea Ridge, Ark.—the first step of an operation it hopes will eventually make its products more widely accessible in the U.S.

“Drones can help break down barriers to on-demand access by reaching historically difficult delivery locations, such as rural communities,” a Walmart spokeswoman says.

The companies plan to start small—with only a handful of customers close to its Northwest Arkansas distribution site and a fleet of just five Zipline drones. But after Zipline receives federal approval to regularly fly its miniature aircraft over people and at night, it will gradually expand those numbers and distance. Zipline anticipates getting that certification within the next four months, a company spokesman says.

Here’s how it works: A Walmart customer opens the Zipline app, places an order, and sets a time for delivery. Then a Walmart store employee packs the products into a blue-branded box and hands it off to Zipline, which has set up a launchpad behind a Walmart in the tiny town of Pea Ridge, Ark. Zipline staffers then pack the box into the underbelly of the drone, which takes off and eventually drops the box, tethered to a mini-parachute, into the customer's front or back yard.

All in all, Walmart expects the deliveries to take 30 to 45 minutes.

Walmart has been testing using drone technology in its everyday operations for quite some time. In 2015, it applied with the Federal Aviation Administration to test grocery deliveries. Around that time it was also considering how to use drone technology to track inventory more efficiently in its own distribution centers. But the company later pivoted, abandoning its own initiatives in favor of partnering with drone companies. It has since experimented with three different drone vendors—Flytrex, DroneUp, and Zipline—in North Dakota and North Carolina, and Las Vegas and Cheektowaga, NY. Later this month, Walmart plans to add a new drone delivery hub in Farmington, Ark., where it will make deliveries within a one-mile radius under an FAA waiver.

But Walmart’s operation with Zipline in Pea Ridge will eventually allow the company much greater range than it had before, as the limit to its other current initiatives is one mile. When operations are given clearance to expand, Zipline will be delivering Walmart's orders within a zone that’s larger than the state of Connecticut, according to Zipline’s CEO, Keller Rinaudo.

“It’s like 10 times as fast as using traditional logistics,” Rinaudo says—besides being more cost-effective and better for the environment, he adds.

For Zipline, this is its first commercial drone site in the U.S. It has 11 other distribution sites worldwide, primarily in Ghana and Rwanda, where it has spent the last five years making more than 215,000 medical supply, vaccine, and blood deliveries. The company plans to expand into Japan next year.

For now, Walmart will deliver health and wellness goods via Zipline drones, although it may eventually expand into other products as well.

Slow regulatory developments in the U.S. have made it challenging for companies like Zipline, Amazon, Alphabet, and UPS to grow their operations locally. The FAA is currently working on rules that would let companies regularly fly their drones without an individual having to watch the aircraft during the entirety of its flight. Right now, companies like Zipline need waivers to do so, which can be difficult and take a long time to attain, and which has become a major hurdle to widespread drone delivery.

But companies are making headway, albeit slowly, at getting their drone delivery projects started. As for now, no one should count on receiving this year's Christmas gifts via drone.

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