Amazon just launched its "In-Car Delivery" service, which allows couriers to drop packages off inside the trunk of your late-model car. No, you don't have to be there. No, they don't need your key. Yes, this is the world we live in now.
Last year, the tech giant got more personal by giving customers the option to have their packages left inside their home through smart locks and a cloud-connected camera. This time with the cars, Amazon is partnering with General Motors and Volvo, using connected technologies already in place in modern vehicles. Those with compatible cars, who live in cities where the service is available and who have a Prime membership (check your eligibility here) can opt in.
Our first gut feeling is to worry about the safety and privacy aspect of this new service. Why would we give strangers access to our car? What if they find out all of our deepest, darkest secrets from the contents of our trunks? What if people wrongly think the courier is breaking into our car?
They're all valid concerns, but we can also see why some parents would actually be OK with this. No longer will you have to leave passive-aggressive notes saying that the only person allowed to ring the doorbell and wake up your baby is Channing Tatum. Birthday presents could be secretly delivered to the trunk of your car instead of left at home for your kid to see. And your co-workers won't have to see that yes, that is the third time this week you've ordered something from Amazon. (Moms have never-ending shopping lists, OK?!)
In their FAQ, Amazon states they've implemented "a number of measures to make in-car delivery secure."
Here's how it works: After buying your item, adding your car to your Amazon Key app and including a description of the vehicle, Amazon couriers will use the car's GPS location, license plate number and image of the car to find it. According to the Verge, which tested out the service, the car has to be within a certain radius of an address you use for Amazon deliveries and has to be parked in an open, street-level, publicly accessible area (so no multi-level parking garages with restricted entry).
Amazon sends you a notification that the package is on its way, with a four-hour delivery window. At any point, you can block access to the car through the Amazon Key app or change delivery locations, which will alert the courier to default to your backup delivery location.
The courier does not have a special key or direct access to the car but can only swipe to request the vehicle be unlocked from the car company's connected car services. The delivery person will also have to confirm that the vehicle is securely locked before they leave. And, just in case, the car will automatically re-lock.
Currently, not all products are allowed to be delivered in the car, including large and heavy packages, those that require a signature, those valued over $1,300 and those that come from third-party sellers.
Now, as to whether or not the courier can fit the packages among the random shopping bags, baby gear, extra clothes and what may or may not be your kid's half-eaten nuggets in the trunk .... well, that's a whole other question.