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Natural Awakenings Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex Edition


Arlington Drone Delivery Program for Vulnerable Residents

Jun 28, 2024 08:40AM ● By Bernice Butler

The city of Arlington is leveraging technology to support its most vulnerable inhabitants in collaboration with the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) to enhance inclusivity and address critical needs.

Autonomous Deliveries: The program utilizes drones and robots to make essential deliveries. These autonomous vehicles are designed to assist residents that are homebound, have special needs or lack access to transportation.

Air Delivery of Essentials: The partnership brings non-perishable food, medicine and other essentials directly to those in need so they can receive vital medication without leaving home, especially during emergencies or when mobility is limited.

Energy-Efficient Solutions: The two-year pilot program is funded by a $780,000 federal grant, emphasizing the energy efficiency of unmanned aircraft capable of carrying up to nine pounds. Smaller, four-wheeled robots will complement the aerial deliveries.

Local Collaboration: The Tarrant Area Food Bank and UT Arlington are key partners in this endeavor. UT Arlington will study energy-efficient delivery methods, contributing to a roadmap for scaled-up operations.

Community Impact: The program addresses challenges such as food deserts, limited access to essential supplies and dense housing situations.

Mayor Jim Ross emphasizes the city’s commitment to finding innovative solutions that benefit residents in need. Santiago Barrera, representing the drone delivery company Aerialoop, highlights that this program complements existing transportation options.

Other drone delivery pilot programs operating in North Texas include Walmart and Wing Drone Delivery. North Richland Hills approved a one-year pilot program for drone delivery. Walmart and Wing (owned by Google) are testing their new drone delivery service in the area. The drones have a wingspan of nearly  five feet, weigh 11.4 pounds, and can travel up to 65 miles per hour at an altitude of about 150 feet. They are no louder than a passing car.

Initially, the service will be available within a four-mile radius of the Walmart Supercenter at 9101 North Tarrant Parkway. Later, it will launch from the Walmart Supercenter at 6401 N.E. Loop 820. This initiative aims to deliver items like over-the-counter medications, movie-night snacks or dinner ingredients directly to homes using drones.

Wing, another drone delivery service, began test flights over Frisco last year. They are now offering limited service in Little Elm and Frisco. Wing delivers select items purchased from Walgreens or Blue Bell by air directly to homes.

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