Amazon’s Latest Delivery Scheme Involves Handing Over Your Car Keys

Amazon on Tuesday added a new option to its Amazon Key service for Prime members:

In-car delivery, which allows drivers to place packages inside a locked trunk or elsewhere in a car that is parked in a publicly accessible area.

The Amazon Key In-Car delivery service is available at no extra charge to millions of Amazon Prime members, including drivers of 2015 or later GMC, Chevrolet, Buick or Cadillac vehicles who use the OnStar service, and customers with 2015 or later Volvo who have a Volvo On Call account. Amazon plans to add additional makes and car models in the future.
“In-Car delivery is part of Volvo’s expanding ecosystem of connected car functions,” said Volvo Car USA spokesperson Jim Nichols.

“We believe that using in-car delivery for high-value items that you don’t want sitting on a front stoop or in the rain is a strong benefit for our customers,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Customers need to download the Amazon Key app, link their Amazon shopping account with their On-Star or On Call account, and select in-car delivery during the checkout process.

The app updates customers when the package is on its way, when the package has been delivered, and when the door is unlocked and relocked. It also gives customers a chance to rate the service.

Cars must be in a publicly accessible area, not underground or in multilevel garages, because the drivers use GPS technology to find them. The cars must be within two blocks of a designated delivery address during a four-hour scheduled window.

Amazon will not use the service for items weighing more than 50 pounds. The deliveries are backed by the Amazon Happiness Guarantee.

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Access Denied

The new Amazon service could serve as a field test of connected car security.

“It’s wise that an existing network to start off with is being used,” said Greg Young, vice president of cybersecurity at Trend Micro.

“OnStar already has been in wide use, and the unlock feature already has been available,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

There was some concern about the hack-proof concept for GM OnStar Remote Link in 2015, when white hat researcher Samy Kamkar demonstrated the ability to remotely unlock and start cars using the system.

Whenever third parties become involved with such a system, complexity is added to the equation and vulnerability becomes a greater concern, Trend Micro’s Young pointed out.

If the Amazon service has the proper encryption, then a hacker cannot just use a “sniff and replay” attack to access the system, noted Brian Martin, vice president of vulnerability intelligence at Risk Based Security.

However, this type of technology is notoriously bad at implementing strong encryption, he told the E-Commerce Times.

Race to Delivery

The announcement of the new service comes at a time when Amazon is locked into a fierce battle with Walmart and other retail rivals for home delivery services. The competition has heated since Amazon acquired Whole Foods last year.

Amazon has used special perks like same-day delivery as a benefit to drive Prime membership, which CEO Jeff Bezos earlier this month claimed had topped 100 million customers.

In-car delivery likely will appeal to some customers, acknowledged Josh Lowitz, a partner at Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

However, it’s doubtful that Prime membership will increase because of it, which remains to be seen.


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Amazon to Start Offering In-Car Deliveries

Company is offering the service with GM and Volvo, but will customers allow strangers to access their personal spaces?

Amazon.com Inc. is now delivering packages right to the car.

The company said on Tuesday it has joined with General Motors Co. and Volvo Cars to start offering in-car deliveries, giving its couriers access to potentially millions of vehicles in 37 U.S. markets. The deal expands Amazon’s effort to get consumers comfortable with the idea of strangers entering their homes and cars as the company handles more packages.

The new delivery option is part of the Amazon Key program, launched last year, in which the company’s delivery drivers drop off packages inside homes. That system, which includes a so-called smart lock for the door and a security camera, currently costs about $220.

The car service is free for Amazon Prime members who own certain newer GM and Volvo models. Customers download the Amazon Key app and link an Amazon account with a connected car service, such as OnStar. A delivery driver unlocks the car—either the trunk or doors, depending on the vehicle—remotely through the wireless connection.

Customers are instructed to park in a “publicly accessible area,” such as a driveway, street or a surface-level lot within the delivery range. The day of the delivery, customers receive a four-hour delivery time window, as well as notifications when the car is unlocked and locked.

Amazon said it ensures an authorized driver is at the right location with the correct package before the vehicle is unlocked remotely. The delivery driver is required to lock the door before moving on, and as a fail-safe measure the doors will lock automatically after a certain period, Amazon said.

The entire Amazon Key program relies on customers allowing strangers to access their most personal spaces. But unlike with the home, where security cameras can record a delivery person’s entry and exit, there are no easy ways to view a delivery person’s interaction with vehicles and whatever items people store inside them. The program is also another way Amazon is trying to integrate itself into customers’ lives—particularly the more than 100 million people paying for its Prime service—and to control every step in the retail process.

Amazon has tens of millions of devices inside people’s homes, from voice-enabled Echo speakers to Dash tap-to-buy buttons, that make it easier for shoppers to choose Amazon over competitors.

Amazon Key would give the company control over the final step of dropping off packages.

The Key In-Car service reflects Amazon’s larger logistics ambitions, as the company handles more of its own shipments and expands to shuttle others’ packages. Amazon has also installed lockers in and outside stores and pickup hubs in apartment buildings to help lower costs associated with deliveries, which skyrocket when a courier misses a first delivery or a package is stolen.

The company previously was involved in an in-car delivery test with Deutsche Post AG’s DHL and Audi in Germany. Amazon has also formed a team that focuses on driverless technology, including associated potential delivery options.

Still, it is unclear whether there will be widespread demand for in-car package delivery. While car companies are equipping vehicles with a growing amount of technology, many owners tend to use only the basics, and commonly report frustration with even simple features such as Bluetooth connections.

Amazon began offering the Key service on Tuesday to roughly seven million GM owners of model-year 2015 or newer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicles, which are equipped with a 4G LTE internet connection. Volvo owners of model-year 2015 or newer cars will also be eligible, according to Amazon.

Amazon said it plans to expand the offering to more vehicle makes and models over time.

GM and Volvo gain the ability to offer a no-cost perk to current owners, while providing a potentially differentiating feature for new-car shoppers. Owners must be Amazon Prime members and have an active OnStar or Volvo On Call account.

Financial terms of the deals weren’t disclosed.

GM, the nation’s largest auto maker by sales, has added technology to its cars in recent years to draw younger buyers and burnish its brands. In 2014, it became the first major car company to offer a high-speed internet connection in most of its cars. A year later it was among the first to offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which project a smartphone-like display on the vehicle dash. Most auto makers now offer those services.

 


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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Author: Laura Stevens 
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