Fuelled by increased demand for more flexible delivery options, US e-tail giant Amazon has teamed up with German car manufacturer Audi and international delivery company DHL to trial a car-boot delivery service in Munich.
The system works by using Audi's in-car communication system, dubbed 'Connect', which can track the location of a parked Audi and generate unique authorisation codes for each delivery (time slots can be selected via Amazon's e-commerce site). Amazon's DHL couriers will be able to digitally open the vehicle and leave the order in the boot. Once the car is closed, the code will automatically expire – a security device to ensure the car cannot be unlocked again at a later date.
For now, the programme will be only available to consumers signed up to Amazon Prime. Meanwhile, Audi is also planning to allow consumers to ship parcels from their cars in the future – meaning the vehicle itself could be used as a pick-up address.
In late 2013, Swedish automaker Volvo trialled a similar concept – Volvo Roam – which enabled drivers to consent to having their cars digitally opened via the 'Roam Delivery' app. However, it is currently still in talks with partners to launch a full roll-out (for more, see In-Transit Click & Collect).
Volvo is currently working on a concept to help groceries stored in cars to remain fresh – via a 24-hour 'cool bag' app feature that lets consumers remotely cool down their cars with air conditioning. The app is currently available in 21 countries including the UK, the US, China, Germany and Sweden.
For more on smart car innovations, see Connected Cars 2014 and CES 2015 Automotive. For further examples of flexible delivery concepts, including future opportunities, see New-Gen Fulfilment, part of our Roaming Retail Industry Trend. See also Amazon Launches High-Speed Delivery and Innovations in Automotive Retailing.