How to turn your car into a safe-deposit box

In a move that could spell the end of parcels dumped with neighbours, left out in the rain or having a failed-delivery note pushed through the letterbox, the German car maker plans to let delivery companies gain entry into their vehicle’s luggage space.

Working with partners DHL Parcel and Amazon Prime, Audi hopes to develop a system that turns customers’ cars into safe-deposit boxes.

Audi’s ‘connect easy delivery', a pilot project starting in May, will allow participants to use the service for the first time. The system will operate through temporary authorisation for keyless access to the car's luggage compartment.

In the future, the new service is to provide customers with the option of entering their Audi as the shipping address for online orders. DHL Parcel is providing the dispatching service in the pilot project. Development partner Amazon is the first online retailer to offer customers delivery directly to their car's boot.

If the Audi owner agrees to the tracking of their automobile for the specific delivery time frame, the DHL driver handling the parcel receives a digital access code for the boot of the customer's vehicle. It can be used one time only for a specific period of time and expires as soon as the luggage compartment has been closed again. Similarly, Audi connect easy delivery customers will also be able to send letters and parcels from their own car in the future.

Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, a managing member of Audi’s technical development board emphasised the high security standards of the development project: "As with all of our connect services, the security of the car and of customer data has top priority for Audi.

“For us, Vorsprung durch Technik also means Audi customers should be able to use these kinds of innovative services with peace of mind and therefore enjoy true added value."

Yet Audi is not the first to consider third-party access to boot space because Volvo revealed its grocery delivery system at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona last year.

In partnership with Ericsson, it chose the example of groceries being ordered online and then delivered to a car’s boot using a tracked temporary key access.

The system uses functionality of the telematics app Volvo On Call, a system that can also remotely heat or cool the car and see its GPS position or fuel level from the owner’s mobile phone.

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