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Amazon pilots delivery to Audi car boots in Germany

Amazon DHL Audi

Amazon customers will be able to order parcels delivered directly to the boot of their car under a pilot scheme launched in Germany with carmaker Audi.

A select group of Audi customers in the Munich area who use Amazon’s Prime service will be able to test the scheme from next month.

It is not clear when the service might become more widely available but Amazon said the pilot was a “first step” towards allowing all Prime customers to order goods to their vehicles, regardless of the vehicle brand.

“We are working to offer Prime members a delivery location that is always available and convenient,” Michael Pasch, director of EU Amazon Prime said in a statement.

Together with delivery partner DHL, these companies aim to ease a common frustration among commuters: never being at home when the delivery company brings goods that were purchased online.

Parcel-to-vehicle delivery might help reduce the number of failed delivery attempts and temper a parcel logjam in large offices caused by employees who input their employers’ address when ordering goods.

Carmakers are seeking to offer an array of add-on “connected” services to retain tech-savvy customers and ensure the profits accrue to them, and not to software companies.

Volvo demonstrated a similar trunk delivery scheme at the Mobile World Congress last year.
Audi said there were no vehicle insurance implications because the delivery agent will not be able to access the vehicle cabin.

The carmaker said that in future customers would also be able to send letters or parcels left in the trunk of their car and Amazon said it was working on a solution to allow goods to also be returned via the boot.

When ordering, Amazon customers will indicate the rough location of the vehicle and desired delivery time. A DHL delivery agent will later be notified of the exact location via a smartphone app.
The agent is granted one-time keyless access to the boot of the vehicle and when the boot is shut again, it locks automatically. The customer must agree for their vehicles to be tracked for a specific timeframe and is notified via email upon successful delivery.

“The security of the car and of customer data has top priority for Audi,” said Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi board member for technical development.

Those involved in the trial would need a specially adapted vehicle to enable third-party access to the boot of their car, Audi said. The carmaker declined to say how many customers would participate in the pilot.

Before the service could be adopted more widely, this keyless trunk access would need to be retrofitted or ordered as an option when purchasing a new car. The participants in the pilot scheme have already been selected; it is not possible to “volunteer”.

Source : Chris Bryant - Financial Times

24 April 2015

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