On Tuesday, Amazon launched another option for package delivery, not to your doorstep, but right to your car trunk. The latest feature is an iteration of its Amazon Key service that lets delivery drivers place parcels inside your home.
Similar to its in-home service, in-car delivery works by giving Amazon access to your vehicle via the Key app. Delivery people can now unlock your parked car and put the package in the trunk. With a few taps, the car can be locked again.
This delivery service is less intrusive than the in-home option that received numerous complaints when it was introduced in November of last year. Shoppers feared that the service would let intruders into their homes, and others felt it was an infringement of their privacy. However, unlike deliveries made inside your home, in-car deliveries don't require the installation of a camera and compatible smart lock, making it less secure. Customers will only get updates once the item is delivered and alerts when the car is unlocked and relocked through the Key app.
Users might be wary of granting short, unrestricted access to their cars, but Amazon assures that the entire process is secure. There are several layers of verification, including an encrypted authentication process, before the car is unlocked. And to prevent unauthorized access, couriers are allowed to unlock vehicles only once for every delivery.
On the day of delivery, customers get a four-hour window of time in which to receive their package. They have to park their cars within the two-block radius of the delivery address. In-car deliveries can only be made to stationary vehicles in open, street-level public spaces to locate them easily. Satellite signals are weaker in multi-level or underground parking garages and couriers can’t enter restricted gated spaces.
Few cars support door openings through an app or connected car services plan. For now, in-car delivery is limited to Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac with active OnStar subscription, and Volvo with active On Call accounts. All vehicle models must 2015 or newer. But Amazon assured its members that the service will be expanded to include more car makes and models.
In-car delivery is available for millions of items on the eCommerce platform. However, there are certain restrictions to this option, such as big boxes that won’t fit inside the trunk and high-value items that require a signature. And if your car gets damaged during delivery, Amazon will take care of it.
Amazon is currently delivering to 37 US cities but intends to cover more areas in the near future. According to Peter Larsen, Amazon’s delivery technology vice president, the Key service is “working as designed” and recorded fewer redeliveries of packages. Innovations like these, although controversial, are Amazon’s response to rising incidents of package theft as online shopping becomes increasingly popular.