Your Audi As Amazon Package Drop - InformationWeek

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Your Audi As Amazon Package Drop

Amazon, Audi, and DHL plan to test delivering packages to the trunk of your car.

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Amazon, Audi, and DHL plan to test the viability of delivering packages to trunks of customers' cars in Munich next month.

Audi drivers participating in the pilot test will be able to have Amazon Prime packages delivered to their cars rather than to home or office addresses.

"We are working to offer Prime members a delivery location that is always available and convenient: The trunk of their car," Michael Pasch, director of Amazon Prime in Europe, said in a statement. "This innovation makes shopping at Amazon even easier and more flexible. It gives customers another way to receive their orders."

[ What's ahead for Amazon Cloud? Read Will Amazon Cloud Revenue Show A Giant Is Born? ]

Bradley Stertz, corporate communications manager at Audi USA, described the project as a small pilot program. "We want to try out some different technology and security issues," he said, characterizing the test as part of the automaker's broader interest in connecting to other aspects of customers' lives.

DHL did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The test involves a small number of specially equipped Audi models. It relies on Audi Connect, an entertainment and information system with built-in cellular data service.



Volvo demonstrated a similar roaming delivery scheme last year at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. According to the company, 60% of people experienced delivery problems with online shopping in 2013.

A 2009 study published in Green Logistics suggested deliveries are not quite so unsatisfactory. It found that 35% of people experienced inconvenience in deliveries. It cited research from 2007 that found first-time delivery failure rates ranging from 2% to 30%, depending on carriers' policies when there's no one home to receive a package. Failed deliveries represent a cost that logistics firms would like to reduce or eliminate.

In an email, Satish Jindel, president of ShipMatrix, said DHL's failure rate for first deliveries globally (for its express service) is about 2.5%, as it is for competing firms. The data, he said, is based on hundreds of millions of actual parcels shipped globally by customers of DHL, FedEx, and UPS who use ShipMatrix applications.

Amazon already offers customers the ability to have packages delivered to any nearby Amazon Locker instead of a home or office address. While Amazon Lockers aren't scarce – there are eight locations in San Francisco, for example – they aren't necessarily nearby for everyone at all times. Being able to designate one's car as a drop-off point offers a potentially more convenient option.

In order for a DHL driver to deliver an Amazon package to a suitably equipped and publicly accessible Audi, the participating customer must first provide Amazon with the expected location of the car during the anticipated delivery window. When the driver arrives at the vehicle, he or she is provided with one-time access to the trunk electronically. When the package is delivered and the trunk is closed, the trunk relocks automatically and the customer receives an email notification of the delivery.

The program, Amazon said, also enables the return of products, which can be left in the trunk for pickup. It may even inspire some interesting scenes in Mafia movies.

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Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Ninja
4/24/2015 | 12:53:46 PM
Re: Questionable Worth ? Depends....
My concern is that trunks are insecure as a location for storing anything valuable. I guess you could choose what you have delivered. Even in my relatively small organization of 150, we lose one or two laptops annually when someone has their trunk broken into. How much more tempting will that be if someone sees DHL stop at your car and leave a package?

I know someone can steal a package from my front doorstep. But, then I'm just out whatever was in the box. If someone breaks into the trunk of my car, I'm out whatever else was in the trunk and probably money for a major repair.
User Rank: Ninja
4/24/2015 | 7:42:02 AM
Re: Questionable Worth ? Depends....
Yea it's certainly trying and whether the scheme works or not it gets headlines. That and drong delivery have been some of the bigger stories of the year already and it's all speculative, trial based technology. 
User Rank: Ninja
4/24/2015 | 5:45:56 AM
Re: Questionable Worth ? Depends....
One things for sure - you can't say Amazon is not on the bleeding edge of retail technology.
User Rank: Ninja
4/23/2015 | 11:25:43 PM
Questionable Worth ? Depends....

Interesting use of technology, not sure totally useful or practical but it you can afford these type of cars then you are probably not concerned with that anyway.

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