Busy this holiday season? Yeah, most of us are. Sometimes it seems like nothing’s ever going to change, but then every once in a while, a brand-new technology comes along that has the potential to actually save us time during our hectic days. For example, there’s that mad rush toward Christmas, where we do all of our regular work, commuting to jobs and raising families, while also trying to frantically by kinds of gifts for dozens of different people.
Now, there’s a bright star on the horizon — new reports show a Volvo is close to rolling out a pilot program for in-vehicle delivery. This would allow people to order packages and get them delivered right into the trunk or back seat of their vehicles.
Back in February 2014, there were a spate of articles (like this one in CNet) covering something called “Roam Delivery” from Volvo. At that time, Volvo was looking at using in-car delivery for groceries or food-service deliveries. The technology was showcased at the Mobile World Congress, and it took off in the media.
Volvo’s proposition was that most of us feel stressed often throughout the year, and could use a break. In research, they also found that the majority of package recipients aren’t home to receive those items when they arrive at their doorsteps, leading to all sorts of problems and wasted time. The last thing most want to do after a long day at work is get home to a “Sorry we missed you” notice on the door and go on a treasure hunt for their package.
“By turning the car into a pickup and drop-off center using digital keys, it’s now possible to deliver the goods to persons, and not just places,” said Klas Bendrik, Volvo Car Group CIO, as quoted in a Volvo statement on Roam Delivery.
More recently, an article on Autoblog indicates that Volvo is starting an actual in-car delivery package service in the Swedish town of Gothenburg where the company was founded. Volvo is working with the Swedish and Danish postal service, as well as local online retailers like Lekmer.com and Mat.se.
So how will these delivery workers be able to get into the car to leave the packages there?
Roam Delivery and similar services will work on the basis of digital keys. The software of Volvo security systems will allow for a one-time use key that a delivery person can use to access the vehicle. When the packages are inside, the worker will close the vehicle, and it will be locked. In addition, Volvo’s on-call telematics system is able to track and provide timestamps for access to the vehicle, which will help with questions about overall security and temporary responsibility and accountability for the vehicle and its contents.
Volvo leaders also describe the in vehicle delivery service as part of a greater push toward connected vehicles. Volvo releases talk about a partnership with Ericsson to build systems like Sensus Connect, a navigation and infotainment system, and to look at how to network vehicles into an increasingly smart and connected digital world.
For now, you won’t be able to get your Amazon packages in your car unless you happen to live in the Nordic European North. However, you can bet that these kinds of systems will be under review for American audiences, and that some years in the future, we’ll be able to look back on traditional FedEx and UPS systems as lovable dinosaurs.
Like classics? It’s always Throwback Thursday somewhere.