Walmart’s drone delivery program has moved on from DJI drones, now powered by the Prism drone from Watts Innovations.
Walmart’s drone delivery program has been in the news lately, yet the American manufacturer powering the program has gone largely unnoticed. Most of the news around drone delivery has focused on the acquisition of Airmap by DroneUp. DroneUp was the chosen drone service provider by Walmart.
Few news articles have explained how one American drone manufacturer has powered the delivery program. In fact, during the first news cycle on Walmart drone delivery it was reported that drone pilots were using DJI drones to conduct drone delivery. To do this, pilots were slightly modifying their Inspire 2 drones to conduct the delivery. However, many discovered DJI drones were not a great solution for drone deliver due to the following:
Enter Watts Innovations, manufacturer of the Prism drone platform. Many domestically manufactured drones were announced this year, with only three companies able to fully deliver. Easy Aerial, Freefly Systems and Watts Innovations have successfully launched their drones AND scaled production. While this may not seem like a big deal to many who work in the technology field, it is imperative to understand. Few modern drone pilots will remember the days of 3D Robotics launch of the Solo drone. At first the marketing hype was on fire, as Colin Quinn pandered features and hardware that simply didn’t exist. It took almost 6 months for drone pilots to even receive the gimbal for the drone. As you can imagine, manufacturing problems plagued the aircraft and the drone never fully took flight. 3DR was never able to fully scale and launch a drone to the masses.
Since then, numerous manufacturers have attempted to create domestically built drones. Yet few have actually been able to scale their aircraft to sell to the masses. Even Skydio had an almost 9 month waitlist when they first launched the Skydio 2 drone. This issue of scaling production has been a common problem among domestic manufacturers. With current supply chain issues, it’s easy to understand how the environment has become even more difficult to create valuable aircraft that serve a large audience.
That hasn’t stopped Watts Innovations. Bobby Watts, the founder of the company, has been scaling at a pace that would make Reid Hoffman blush. Watts Innovations has done what very few domestic drone manufacturers have been able to do. Scale. They have become successful by building drone platforms at scale and consistently delivering to clients. They listened to the drone industry, and built a drone as an all-in-one solution. The Prism drone even has modular elements as pilots can remove the arms and put “coaxial” arms to instantly increase payload capacity. Through this modular drone platform, Watts Innovations has created a drone system built on systems. Crash the drone and break an arm; no need to fret. Simply grab a new modular arm and replace the broken arm with a few clicks.
As Walmart chose DroneUp for delivery, DroneUp chose the most successful U.S. based drone manufacturer to date to power this drone delivery initiative. Be sure and keep Watts Innovations on your radar as they continue to innovate aircraft at an unprecedented rate.
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