To get stuff to customers who aren’t at home, Amazon plans to deliver straight to the trunks of parked cars. True, the idea doesn’t involve drones or robot arms reaching through kitty doors; then again, low-tech tricks like this one may be just the thing for the Internet of Things.
Volvo tried a very similar idea in Sweden last year, delivering grocery deliveries to the trunks of parked cars.
Amazon and its two partners, carmaker Audi and the courier company DHL, will conduct the experiment in Munich with select subscribers to Amazon Prime, who must consent to having their cars tracked wirelessly and having their trunks opened electronically.
“The pilot is the first step towards eventually offering Amazon Prime members around the world the ability to use the trunk of their car as a delivery location,” Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman said, according to the Seattle Times.
It seems strange that, up until now, no one has thought to use a car as an alternate address. Unlike a post office box, a car can be moved to wherever the owner wishes, and it can maintain an approachable kind of anonymity. That was one of the ideas behind the “Lincoln Lawyer,” a movie about a man who ran his law firm from the back seat of a chauffeured Lincoln limousine.
Philip E. Ross is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. His interests include transportation, energy storage, AI, and the economic aspects of technology. He has a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia University and another, in journalism, from the University of Michigan.