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Walmart Inc said on Wednesday it would run a pilot project for delivery of grocery and household products through automated drones, along with end-to-end delivery firm Flytrex, as the US retailer looks to beef up its delivery business.

Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart said the test would start on Wednesday in Fayetteville, North Carolina, with cloud-controlled drones picking up and dropping off select items.

(Also read: Amazon may soon replace delivery vans with drones in the US)

"We know that it will be some time before we see millions of packages delivered via drone. That still feels like a bit of science fiction," Tom Ward, senior vice-president, customer products, said in a statement.

The company has accelerated the expansion of its pick-up and delivery services in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, as virus-wary consumers increasingly prefer having items delivered at their doorsteps.

Walmart, whose US online sales doubled in the second quarter, has previously partnered with Ford Motor Co and self-driving vehicle startups Gatik and Nuro to explore delivery through autonomous vehicles.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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