In October of last year, Amazon launched its Amazon Key service. This allowed Amazon Prime customers to choose In-Home delivery and Amazon’s delivery employees were able to unlock your front door and deliver your package inside. A number of trusting Prime subscribers opted for the service. Now the technology giant wants to do something similar, but this time with your car.
Today, Amazon announced a brand new service where Amazon couriers are given access to a customer’s vehicle in order to deliver Amazon packages inside. The tech giant plans to use a range of smart and connected technologies already embedded in modern automobiles today to achieve this
Amazon is launching this service in conjunction with General Motors as well as Volvo – two of the major automakers in the US. The service is set to roll out in 37 US cities starting today. You can check if you are eligible for the service via Amazon’s web page here.
Amazon has reportedly been testing this service for the last six months in Washington state and California. In the beginning months of its launch, the in-car delivery service will be available only to Prime subscribers with General Motors or Volvo vehicles with a model year of 2015 or after. Over time, Amazon has plans to include more auto brands in this service. Packages that are in excess of $1300 in value, need a signature, or are from a third party seller will not be eligible for this service.
The tech giant has reportedly signed a 2 year contract with Volvo and General Motors and the three companies mutually agree to use this as a test period.
How Will It Work
In order to access this in-car delivery service, Amazon Prime subscribers would be required to add their car to Amazon’s Key app with a description of their vehicle. The vehicle will also have to be positioned in a specific radius of an earlier Amazon delivery address. Driveways, parking garages, lots as well street parking can be eligible locations.
In order to locate your vehicle, Amazon’s in-car delivery couriers will be able to access the vehicle’s location is GPS, registration number and the car’s image. Amazon’s assures its subscribers that it will never have access to the car’s login information while all communication to and fro between the car and Amazon will be encrypted.
Perhaps the decision to partner with Volvo and General Motors reflects the automaker’s keen focus on smart and connected technology for vehicles. AGM subsidiary, OnStar, is widely seen as leading the field in subscription based hands free services including calling, navigation as well as emergency services.
Vehicle manufacturers have already conducted experiments with similar in-car delivery services, with the assumption that a car can also act as a mobile storage locker. Volvo launched its in-car option of delivery for Stockholm residents, in conjunction with local startup Urb-it. Amazon too had, in 2015, experimented with similar in-car services during a short trial with Audi in Germany.
Some concerns exist about the car’s connectivity at the time and possible difficulty that the tech giant’s couriers may face while accessing cloud based services especially in low-connectivity locations. Another challenge for Amazon would be to rethink its final leg of the supply chain considering the delivery location can be mobile and locations can therefore change.
In spite of the convenience of this service and Amazon’s trusted brand image, people may not be as enthusiastic about this service as the company expects. This especially after security researchers uncovered the fact that the tech giant’s cloud based camera used for in home deliveries, could be quite easily disabled via a program using any computer that was within range of Wi-Fi.
While the cloud based camera did provide a security layer and a way to monitor deliver of packages in their home, the new in-car service offers not such video to monitor. Amazon though, has insisted that a combination of notifications and the choice to block all access to their vehicles at any time will ensure that the customer always controls the delivery process.
Despite these possible security hiccups, potential customers could see the in-car option for deliveries as more viable from a cost standpoint. To opt-in for in-car delivery, subscriber’s are not asked to spend in excess of $200 for a camera or a smart lock as the case is with the in-home delivery option. All that is needed is an eligible vehicle and a trust quotient that will allow Amazon’s courier service to unlock your car.