After launching a program called Amazon Key last year, allowing Amazon Prime subscribers to have packages delivered inside their homes using a system of smart locks and security cameras, Amazon is expanding the program.
Starting today, Prime members can use Amazon Key In-Car to have packages delivered to cars parked in public spaces (like the driveway to a house, or a street-level, publicly accessible parking lot for a business or apartment building).
Amazon Key In-Car is available in 37 US cities at launch, works with same-day, 2-day, and standard shipping options… and requires a “compatible vehicle.” For now that means you’ll need a relatively new car from one of Amazon’s partners, GM and Volvo.
Amazon says 2015 or newer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, or Cadilac vehicles with active OnStar accounts will support the service, as will 2015 or newer Volvo vehicles with Volvo On Call accounts.
When a package is set to be delivered, a driver will request access to your automobile, Amazon will verify that the driver is at the right location and has the right package, and then the car will be unlocked. Customers with an Amazon Key App on their phones will receive a notification letting them know the car has been relocked, and the driver will never get a code or key to your car.
If you need to move your car to run an errand or something, you can use the app to block delivery for a short period. If a package is scheduled to be delivered during that time, it’ll go to whatever backup location you’ve specified.
And since Amazon has data on the driver, if anything does go wrong with the delivery, it shouldn’t be too hard to track down the culprit.
Still, just like the in-home delivery service Amazon launched last years, Amazon Key In-Car straddles the line between creepy and useful. For folks that don’t want packages left on their front steps, and who may not be able to otherwise receive them at home or work, a service that allows drivers to deliver packages to a relatively secure location sounds kind of awesome. Effectively giving them a one-time key to your house or car… sounds a little less awesome.
That said, Amazon officials tell The Verge that the company is “happy with the response to in-home delivery.” So while the company hasn’t said how many people have signed up, it seems pretty clear that enough people are doing it for the company to continue investing in the service.
The in-car delivery service has been in beta testing for the past half year, and aside from needing a Prime membership and a compatible vehicle, you’ll need to be in one of the 37 cities where the service is available (for now). But Amazon plans to expand the list of cities and vehicles in the future.
Oh, and this should be obvious, but packages need to be small enough to fit in a car: the company won’t deliver anything that weighs more than 50 pounds or that measures more than 26″ x 21″ x 16″ or which requires a signature.