Walmart has a futuristic new weapon in the war on Amazon

Walmart is plotting a floating warehouse that would dispatch products by drone.

The retailer has applied for a patent for a warehouse that would dispatch products by drone, taking them straight to customers’ homes, reports Matthew Boyle at Bloomberg.

“The blimp-style machine would fly at heights between 500 feet and 1,000 feet (as much as 305 meters), contain multiple launching bays, and be operated autonomously or by a remote human pilot,” Boyle writes, adding that Amazon was granted a similar patent last year.

The distribution center would cut out the step of sending a product to a delivery location.

The patent application is the latest twist in an increasingly heated war between Walmart, long the nation’s biggest retailer, and e-commerce giant Amazon.

Most recently, Walmart has started installing massive online pick-up towers that let customers retrieve products from its Supercenters without consulting workers.

Walmart’s online sales were $US13.7 billion in 2015, compared with Amazon’s $US107 billion. Walmart is still far ahead in terms of overall sales, however.

Walmart generated $US486 billion in fiscal year 2016, which is more than three times as much as Amazon’s revenue of $US136 billion.

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