Volvo to Turn Cars Into Post Boxes for Online Shoppers

Volvo to Turn Cars Into Post Boxes for Online Shoppers

The system "will allow consumers to have shopping delivered straight to their car, no matter where they are," the company said in a statement. "Via a smartphone or a tablet, the owner will be informed when a delivery company wants to drop off or pick up something from the car."

STOCKHOLM -- Swedish auto maker Volvo said today it is developing a system to enable online shopping deliveries direct to customers' cars rather than their homes.

Volvo (IW 1000/96) said it has created a single-use digital key that postal or delivery services can use to locate a vehicle and open it.

The system "will allow consumers to have shopping delivered straight to their car, no matter where they are," the company said in a statement. "Via a smartphone or a tablet, the owner will be informed when a delivery company wants to drop off or pick up something from the car."

The owner of the car then accepts the delivery and can track when the car is opened.

The technology would provide a solution for people who are on the move and need to receive deliveries away from their home or office.

The company said failed deliveries cost courier companies around 1 billion euros ($1.37 billion) in redelivery costs each year.

"The technology was trialed during a pilot program of 100 people, 86% of [whom] agreed that 'roam delivery' saved them time," Volvo said. "The future car will be much more than just a means of transportation."

The company will present the new technology at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week, but it has not set a launch date for clients.

"We are in talks with different partners," innovation manager Johan Maresch said.

Chinese-owned Volvo is attempting to move into the high-end auto segment, to join brands such as Audi (IW 1000/61) or BMW (IW 1000/37), as well as position itself as one of the most innovative in the market.

It has promised to put the first self-driving cars on Swedish roads in 2017 and pledged that nobody will be injured on the road in Volvo cars from 2020.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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