This week’s “Around the Commercial Drone Industry” news round-up reports on the expansion of Walmart’s drone delivery services, a drone-based educational program for middle-schoolers, the use of UAVs to combat graffiti, and efforts in Nepal to remove trash from Mt. Everest with uncrewed vehicles.

Walmart and Wing Expand Drone Delivery Network in Texas
Chain Store Age reports that Walmart is about to grow its drone delivery network in Texas. Working the Wing, the drone technology subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet, the retail giant is offering services in North Richland Hills, Frisco, and Lewisville, TX, in addition to its services in the metro-Dallas area. Through this arrangement, customers in these communities will be able to order products such as “frozen treats, household essentials, last-minute meal solutions, and fragile items like eggs” for delivery by drone through the Wing app for iOS or Android.

Tackling Graffiti in Washington State With UAVs
Washington Department of Transportation crews are testing the use of drones to remove graffiti. Based on the department’s success with using drones for bridge inspections, DOT professionals are using drones with spray nozzles “linked to a paint supply on the ground” to remove graffiti from hard to reach places. The agency hopes the approach will save time and money as, in 2023, Washington State spent “over $815,000 on graffiti removal statewide (including staff time and equipment). That's nearly 10,300 hours of labor spent covering 700,000 square feet of graffiti along our highways.” The Washington DOT claims it is “the first transportation agency to pilot the use of drones to combat graffiti.”

Uncrewed Systems Enhance Science Education in North Carolina
Drones are increasingly being added to the science curriculum at the schools around the world, and the latest example comes from Moore County, North Carolina. A story in EducationNC details how a lesson plan incorporating “math, physics, language arts, history, and geography” uses drones to provide “an opportunity for students to practice empathy, teamwork, communication, perseverance, and problem-solving.” According to the article, “Integrating drones into classroom activities enables educators to meet educational standards while optimizing student interest and participation at all grade levels.”

Drones Haul Trash Off Mt. Everest
Each year, visitors to Mt. Everest in Nepal produce a tremendous amount of trash and getting the garbage off this 8,848.86 meter-tall mountain is complicated and expensive. With drones, however, officials in the Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality may have found a viable solution. According to the Kathmandu Post, the municipality is currently deploying a DJI drone that can “fly up to 6,500 metres and carry 30 kg” for garbage removal missions. The success of the program should positively impact “the livelihood of high altitude support staff" who work in the region "with tonnes of loads on their backs.”