Small Virginia town soon to be the site of drone delivery program for Walgreens

PHOTO: Walgreens will be the first retailer in the U.S. to test an on-demand drone delivery service with Wing in Christiansburg, Virginia next month. PlayWing
WATCH News headlines today: Oct. 14, 2019

A small town in southwest Virginia will soon be the test site for residents to have everything from drugstore necessities to sweets from a local bakery delivered to their home in minutes via a drone.

Delivery drones for Walgreens will take to the skies in Christiansburg, Virginia, starting in October as part of a pilot program. The national drugstore is teaming up with the aviation tech company Wing to launch the delivery service.

Customers in the town will be able to order more than 100 Walgreens products through the Wing app, including cold or allergy medicine, first aid products and snacks. They are also offering specialty drone "packs" in certain categories such as kids' snacks or pain relief.

“With this pilot, Walgreens will be 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 Walgreens store,” Vish Sankaran, chief innovation officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., said in a statement.

PHOTO: This undated image made from video provided in September 2019 by Wing, a member of the Alphabet family of companies, shows a delivery drone test which is part of a partnership with Walgreens. Wing via AP
This undated image made from video provided in September 2019 by Wing, a member of the Alphabet family of companies, shows a delivery drone test which is part of a partnership with Walgreens.

In addition to working with Walgreens, Wing also teamed up with the locally-owned small business Sugar Magnolia, a self-proclaimed "paper goods, gifts, chocolates and ice cream" establishment that has been beloved in the region for years.

Sugar Magnolia shared an article with the news on their Facebook page, writing, "The future of sweetness is flying high!"

“Wing has spent the last seven years developing a delivery drone and navigation system for this purpose," Wing CEO James Ryan Burgess said in a statement. "By delivering small packages directly to homes through the air in minutes, and making a wide range of medicine, food and other products available to customers, we will demonstrate what we expect safer, faster, cleaner local delivery to look like in the future."

PHOTO: Walgreens will be the first retailer in the U.S. to test an on-demand drone delivery service with Wing in Christiansburg, Virginia next month. Wing
Walgreens will be the first retailer in the U.S. to test an on-demand drone delivery service with Wing in Christiansburg, Virginia next month.

The town of approximately 20,000 residents was chosen as the test site because Wing has been working closely with a team at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, to develop drone delivery advancements since 2016.