Could cars be the perfect pickup location for parcels?

As many of us start to return to our workplaces, we may find ourselves missing crucial package deliveries again. Even those who are still at home may prefer not to interrupt a conference call to answer the door.

With the boom in online shopping, and the resulting challenge for logistics companies to create more efficient and safe deliveries, Ford and Hermes UK claim to have now come up with a solution – why not deliver parcels to your car where they will be safe and dry and can be picked up at your convenience?

Launched in selected areas of the UK this month, the ‘Secure Delivery to Vehicle’ pilot project will enable parcels to be delivered directly to vehicles located at the driver’s home address.

The project also speeds up deliveries by saving drivers from having to knock on doors, climb stairs or find a neighbour to take the parcel when you’re not home.

The delivery-to-vehicle option is offered to customers with the FordPass app, expanding the range of connected services already available via the app.

The option comes at no extra cost and ensures social distancing requirements are adhered to. As the pilot expands, Ford and Hermes UK hope to increase the number of participants and broaden the project’s scope, such as by offering “returns” from the vehicle and enabling vehicle deliveries at other locations, for example at the customer’s work address.

When shopping with selected retailers, those taking part in the pilot will have “delivery-to-vehicle” as the standard option for delivery and provide details of the vehicle’s location. Customers will also be able to have a home delivery, if so desired.

Once the delivery driver is within 300 metres of their destination, the exact location of the customer’s vehicle is displayed on the Hermes app. Within 50 metres, the driver scans the barcode on the customer’s parcel to create a one-time unlock token for the vehicle. This enables the driver to unlock the boot and securely deposit the package.

For added security, if the delivery driver fails to lock the vehicle after making the delivery, the vehicle locks automatically within a set time period.

Locating the vehicle and remote unlocking/locking is enabled through permissions granted by the recipient via the FordPass app. If the vehicle is not within 300 metres of the selected delivery-to-vehicle address, the parcel is delivered to the recipient’s home address. This also applies to parcels that are too large to fit in the vehicle.

“Together with Hermes, we are looking at more secure and efficient ways to deliver parcels, to match the increasing demands coming from online purchases. Turning the vehicle into a delivery point is extremely convenient for the customer. It puts them in control, to ensure their parcel is where they want it when they want it,” said Mark Harvey, director, Enterprise Connectivity, Ford of Europe.