The eCommerce monolith is testing out a service in the Munich area wherein select Amazon Prime users can have parcels left in the trunks of their cars, the Financial Times reports. The pilot program, being rolled out in concert with Audi and DHL, is set to begin next month and is limited to a select customer cross-section of Prime users and Audi owners.
In a press release [translated], Amazon described the pilot program as a "first step" toward allowing all Prime customers to have orders delivered to their car trunks.
“We are working to offer Prime members a delivery location that is always available and convenient,” Michael Pasch, director of EU Amazon Prime, remarked in the release.
As described by the FT, the service works by having Amazon customers provide a general location of the destination vehicle and a desired delivery time; the customer agrees to have his or her vehicle tracked within a certain time frame. Once it is time to drop off the package, a DHL delivery person is notified of the exact location of the vehicle by means of a smartphone app. The DHL agent is allowed one-time keyless access to the vehicle in order to place the package in the trunk; as soon as the trunk is shut, it locks automatically. Finally, an email is sent to the Amazon customer notifying him or her of the successful delivery.
Audi told the FT that the customers who will be participating in the trial in Germany already possess vehicles that are outfitted to enable third-party access to the trunk.
“The security of the car and of customer data has top priority for Audi,” said Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi board member for technical development.
If the test of the trunk-dropoff service is successful enough that Amazon chooses to expand it, it is likely that keyless access would have to become an option among a wider range of vehicle manufacturers. The FT points out that Volvo previously unveiled a similar system at Mobile World Congress last year.