amazon key in-car delivery

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Amazon expands its controversial Key service to deliver inside your car

It will only be available to GM and Volvo owners at launch.

 

Phillip Tracy

Tech

Published Apr 24, 2018   Updated May 21, 2021, 5:38 pm CDT

If you already let Amazon workers inside your home, why not give them access to your car while you’re at it? For its most trusting customers, the online retailer is expanding its Key service to deliver packages inside the trunk of your parked vehicle.

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You won’t have to make any additional purchases this time since the in-car delivery only requires the Amazon Key app and connected technology embedded in your ride. The service will be made available to users in 37 cities across the U.S. at no extra charge. Amazon has been beta testing the program for the last six month and wants to use a two-year partnership with Volvo and GM as a trial run.

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Once your car has been added to the app with a description, you can choose the “in-car” option from the checkout screen like any other transaction. As long as the vehicle is parked within a certain radius of the address selected for deliveries, a courier will attempt to locate it, even if it’s in a parking garage, driveway, or parking lot. But you’ll only be able to request a delivery if you’ve already provided Amazon with a photo of your car, its license plate number, and GPS location.

If it helps put your mind at ease, Amazon couriers don’t have any special key or password to enter your vehicle. Instead, they use the vehicle’s connected car services to request that it be unlocked. Amazon says it never gains login credentials to the service and all communication between the courier and car is encrypted. Furthermore, you can remotely block access to your vehicle at any time if you feel uncomfortable or need to use the car.

Still, these safety measures won’t do enough to convince customers who are skeptical about letting a stranger into their vehicle. When the home version of Key first launched, it was slammed on social media as an infringement of privacy and unnecessary security risk, despite requiring a $250 always-on security camera and compatible smart lock. Less than a month later, security researchers discovered a vulnerability in the Cloud Cam that let couriers freeze the video feed. With in-car delivery, Amazon is relying on notifications and your ability to lock the car at any time, both of which require attention you might not have if you’re using the service in the first place.

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Apart from the obvious security concerns, there is some fine print you’ll need to consider. The service will only be available to Amazon Prime customers who own a GM or Volvo vehicle from 2015 or newer with OnStar or Volvo on Call. The company hopes to bring more vehicles into the mix later down the line. Also, packages that weight more than 50 pounds, are larger than 26 x 21 x 16 inches, require a signature or are valued at greater than $1,300 are not eligible.

In-car delivery with Key is the latest method for Amazon to expand its package delivery options so customers don’t have to worry about timing a shipment. The unique, albeit polarizing, service could ultimately help distance the company from its already fading competition. For GM and Volvo, Key gives them an opportunity to show off their latest technology while offering a differentiating feature in a cutthroat market.

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*First Published: Apr 24, 2018, 12:08 pm CDT