Your Audi As Amazon Package Drop - InformationWeek

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4/23/2015
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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.

(Image: Amazon.com)

(Image: Amazon.com)

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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jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
4/27/2015 | 12:48:38 PM
Re: Questionable Worth ? Depends....
Amazon Lockers still exist, but they're not available even in all metropolitan areas. Nothing nearby to me. You can select a locker from within the shipping settings under your account.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
4/27/2015 | 12:34:11 PM
Re: Questionable Worth ? Depends....
@jagibbons: Whatever happened to the Amazon Locker system? 
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
4/27/2015 | 12:31:53 PM
Re: Questionable Worth ? Depends....
@SunitaT0: You raise some pretty nice questions. Another problem with this kind of delivery service is security, since the package may be taken out, something else might be kept etc. Plus it also does away with the "sign and then take the package" concept, which shouldn't be the case if there is a wrong delivery.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
4/27/2015 | 12:29:31 PM
Re: Questionable Worth ? Depends....
@jagibbons: I see this kind of delivery system as counter productive. The reason being that too much time, evergy and money would be spent in logistics which would be a bummer if it doesn't satisfy the customer. 
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
4/26/2015 | 7:22:17 AM
Re: Questionable Worth ? Depends....
I don't think that the size of the package will be too big a factor. Amazon is near the top in information-based logistics. I would expect their system to know that if an item can't fit into a trunk, that delivery option isn't going to be available. Perhaps they'll do the same kind of thing based upon the value/cost of the item being delivered to help reduce the risk that the car will get broken into.
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
4/26/2015 | 5:42:01 AM
Re: Questionable Worth ? Depends....
There really are numerous levels to this delivery system. First of all, what if the person does not have a car, can he use a friend's reference car for the drop off? Secondly what would the delivery guys do if the trunk cannot hold in the package, i.e. it is too large to fit. Thirdly we are looking at security concerns for this kind of delivery. Since this is all new to us, we still don't know what kind of security measures we should take.
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
4/26/2015 | 5:36:29 AM
Re: Questionable Worth ? Depends....
I really don't buy the idea. Having the package delivered to the trunk of the car? And what if the package is too large, for example, a fridge, what to do then?
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
4/25/2015 | 11:22:38 PM
Re: Questionable Worth ? Depends....

"....Makes a lot more sense than having drones fly around, making airborn package dropsMakes a lot more sense than having drones fly around, making airborn package drops ".

 

Yeah, besides  pedal powered low flying crafts are much more cost efficient and effective.  : /

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
4/25/2015 | 11:18:11 PM
Re: Questionable Worth ? Depends....

You guys make some great points,  having recently had my car damaged I can totally relate to the cost factor when someone notices that you just got a package delivered.

 

I wish Amazon's business was security, imagine what novel concepts they would come up with then.  

Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
4/25/2015 | 8:02:19 PM
Re: Questionable Worth ? Depends....
What an intersting idea - using your car as a mobile PO Box. A nice enhancement would be a GPS-based location indicator that would tell the delivery people just exactly where your car is at the time the delivery is to be effected. Makes a lot more sense than having drones fly around, making airborn package drops
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