TECHNOLOGY

Amazon pioneers unusual delivery option—inside your car

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon is upping the delivery wars yet again by betting that its Prime members will allow the online giant access to their cars.

Expanding on the functionality of Amazon Key, which enables keyless access for in-home deliveries, Amazon is launching a new service that gives customers the option to receive deliveries inside their vehicles. Called Amazon Key-in-Car, the service enables Prime members with compatible vehicles to have packages delivered to the trunks and back seats of their cars when parked at home or a publicly accessed area.

To participate, customers must have a compatible 2015 or newer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicles with an active OnStar account. Customers with a 2015 or newer Volvo vehicle with an active Volvo On Call account are also eligible for the service.

The service, which is free for Prime members, is available in 37 cities across the country, with more cities and additional vehicle brands and models to be added over time. It has been beta tested in California and Washington State for the past six months, reported The Verge.

Here’s how it works: Customers download the Amazon Key app and link their Amazon account with their connected car service account. Once setup is complete and the delivery location has been registered, customers can shop on Amazon and select the “In-Car” delivery option at checkout. Delivery is available on “tens of millions” of items sold on Amazon, and members can choose from Prime’s same-day, two-day or standard shipping options, according to the company.

On delivery day, customers park outside of one of the delivery addresses registered in their Amazon address book. Couriers use a GPS to match the location and license plate number, as well as an image of the car, then drop the order right inside of the customer’s vehicle.

Amazon is also using multiple layers of verification to secure its in-car deliveries. Each time a delivery driver requests access to a customer’s vehicle, an encrypted authentication process verifies that an authorized driver is at the right location with the right package. Once this process is successfully completed, the car is then unlocked.

The Amazon Key app also shares notifications with users throughout the four-hour delivery time window, including when the delivery is on its way, and when the package has been delivered. The app’s activity feed also reveals when the car was unlocked and relocked in, and enables users to rate their in-car delivery.

“In-car delivery gives customers that same peace of mind and allows them to take the Amazon experience with them,” said Peter Larsen, VP of delivery technology, Amazon. “And, with no additional hardware or devices required, customers can start ordering in-car delivery today.”

The service expands on Amazon’s Key program, a lock-and-camera service that enables Prime members to receive packages directly inside of their homes.

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