Thanks to in-car technology, the modern vehicle often doubles as an infotainment center or satellite office.
And with Amazon’s latest foray in automotive, certain cars can now moonlight as your mailbox or package receiving center.
On Tuesday, the tech giant announced an expansion of its Amazon Key in-home delivery/keyless guest access platform to include in-car delivery.
Amazon Key In-Car will let Prime members who own certain General Motors and Volvo vehicles have packages delivered inside their vehicles — without the car owner being present — while the vehicle is parked at a publicly accessible area.
“Since launching Amazon Key last November, we’ve safely delivered everything from cameras to collectable coins inside the home. Customers have also told us they love features like keyless guest access and being able to monitor their front door from anywhere with the Amazon Key App,” said Peter Larsen, Amazon’s vice president of delivery technology, in a news release.
“In-car delivery gives customers that same peace of mind and allows them to take the Amazon experience with them,” Larsen said. “And, with no additional hardware or devices required, customers can start ordering in-car delivery today.”
This service is available in 37 U.S. cities and surrounding areas (see list below), with plans to expand further.
It is being offered to customers who either have:
- A 2015 model-year or newer compatible Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicle with OnStar active; or
- 2015 model-year or newer Volvo vehicle that has Volvo On Call active
Amazon plans to add more makes and models, it said. The service is being provided to Prime members at no additional charge.
“Partnering with Amazon to leverage our embedded in-vehicle connectivity gives Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac owners the option to conveniently receive deliveries inside their vehicle parked at home, work or near other locations in their Amazon address book,” Alan Batey, the president of General Motors North America, said in a news release.
“This is another example of how we provide customers with technologies that add value and enhance the ownership experience,” he said.
Volvo Cars chief digital office Atif Rafiq said: “Simplifying the customer experience is central to Volvo’s digital vision. Receiving a package securely and reliably in your car, without you having to be there, is something we think many people will appreciate. This mix of car and commerce is starting the next wave of innovation and we intend to be at the forefront.”
Volvo, in fact, had already been providing a similar service in Europe for three years, “and we believe that receiving packages should be as easy and convenient as ordering them online,” said Anders Tylman-Mikiewicz, Volvo’s vice president of consumer connectivity services.
Here’s how it is designed to work.
Customers download the Amazon Key App and link their Amazon with the respective connected car service account for their vehicle, be it On Call for Volvo or OnStar for GM.
After app set up and the registration of the delivery location, customers have the option of selecting an in-car delivery when they are the checkout phase of their Amazon purchase.
On the day the package is to be delivered, customers can use the Amazon Key App to determine if their vehicle is parked in delivery location range. The app notifies the customer of the four-hour delivery time window, when the package is en route and when it has been delivered.
The app also lets the customer track the unlocking and relocking of their vehicle.
For those who might be squeamish at the thought of a package being delivered to their vehicle, there are “multiple layers of verification” Amazon said it uses for the security of the vehicle.
When a delivery driver asks to get access to a vehicle to deliver the package, Amazon uses an encrypted authentication process to ensure the authorized driver has the right package and is at the correct location.
Then the vehicle is unlocked.
The Amazon Key App notifies the customer once the delivery is complete and the vehicle is relocked.
Amazon said it never provides special codes or keys to delivery drivers. The company also said its Happiness Guarantee policy backs the in-car delivery service.
A company spokesperson said via email that these are the 37 areas where Amazon Key In-Car is being offered initially:
Kansas City, Kan.
Los Angeles and Orange County, Calif.
Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.
Salt Lake City
San Francisco Bay Area
Seattle and Eastside, Wash.
Washington D.C. Metro