Here’s How Amazon Plans To Use The Internet Of Things To Deliver Packages To Cars

Here’s How Amazon Plans To Use The Internet Of Things To Deliver Packages To CarsAn Amazon warehouse in Hernel Hampstead, England (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Ever since they’re arrival in the late 1990s, the e-commerce industry has been aggressively looking at changing how packages are delivered to customers. With drone deliveries making headlines a few years ago, the industry is now looking at the Internet of Things (IoT) to deliver products.

After 20 years of delivering online purchases to people’s doorsteps, Amazon is now looking to step up the ante by delivering goods to the purchaser’s car. The Seattle-based e-commerce giant has launched a new service under its Amazon Key brand of services.

Launched last year, Amazon Key is a subset of the firm’s flagship Prime brand that uses an internet of things (IoT)-based system to enable less intrusive deliveries.

Under Amazon Key for Homes, a camera using Amazon’s CloudCam – a cloud connected camera – and a smartlock are installed on doors. When a delivery is to be made, the courier scans the barcode on the door which in turn sends a request to the server. Once the cloud grants permission, the camera starts recording, and the door opens allowing the courier to leave the package in and leave. The entire video is then sent along with a notification that the package has been delivered to the user. Amazon hasn’t revealed the total number of users who have opted-in for the service yet.

Keys, which has now been extended to Cars, has been undergoing trials in California and Washington for the last six months. The service is being rolled out in 37 cities across the United States with newer cars manufactured by Volvo and General Motors that feature the brands’ Volvo On Call or OnStar subscriptions.

Amazon has signed a two-year agreement with both manufacturers. Once a user adds the vehicle and description on their app, they need to park their cars within several delivery radii for agents to deliver. Once the car is located, similar to the home deliveries, the courier needs to submit a photograph of the car and its licence plate using their app. Once the request is verified, the trunk of the car will be opened for the package to be left inside. Amazon has imposed size restrictions on packages that can be delivered to cars and has also barred third-party distributors from delivering to cars.

Vehicle manufacturers have been looking at in-car deliveries for over two years now. In 2016, Volvo launched a service for Stockholm residents by partnering with a local delivery firm Urb-It.