Ford owners can now opt to have their parcel delivered to their car boot, thanks to a partnership between the car maker and delivery service Hermes.
As part of a pilot, UK Ford owners can get delivery drivers to leave parcels in the boot of their vehicle if it’s located at their home address, as a safe space location.
The option is suited for those who aren’t at home to collect their parcel, or are at home but are too busy to answer the door.
In a car boot, parcels are ‘safe and dry and can be picked up at your convenience’, Ford claims, rather than left out on a porch where they could be rained on or stolen.
‘Delivery-to-vehicle’ speeds up deliveries by saving drivers from having to knock on doors, climb stairs or find a neighbour to take the parcel when the recipient isn’t home, Ford claims.
However, it also gives delivery staff access to a person’s car boot. This could put customers off if there are valuables already in there, especially if their car is on a busy street outside their home.
Ford drivers can now opt to have their parcel delivered to their car boot, as part of a new pilot in the UK – but it involves their boot opening when they’re not even there
HOW DOES IT WORK?
When shopping at 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.
When the package is out for delivery, the delivery driver locates the customer’s vehicle on the Hermes app.
The customer gives permission through the FordPass app to access the vehicle.
Once they do so, the boot opens and the driver places the package in the boot and takes a photo of it there.
Once the boot is closed, the driver locks the vehicle and continues with the next delivery.
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.
The delivery-to-vehicle option is much like the one offered by Volkswagen and Hermes last year. It’s launched in parts of Essex for now, but it could soon expand to London and other surrounding areas, according to Ford and Hermes.
To ensure vehicles remain secure, the delivery driver is the only one who can unlock the vehicle – and they can only do so using the one-time token that’s displayed to them on the Hermes app.
‘Together with Hermes, we are looking at more secure and efficient ways to deliver parcels, to match the increasing demands coming from online purchases,’ said Mark Harvey, director for enterprise connectivity at Ford of Europe.
‘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.’
The delivery-to-vehicle option is now offered to customers with the free-to-use FordPass app, which lets Ford drivers unlock and even start a car engine with their smartphone, and a connected vehicle – one with a FordPass Connect modem.
When shopping with ‘selected retailers’ including ASOS, Misguided, Boohoo and H&M, 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 opt for a traditional home delivery, if so desired.
Once the delivery driver is within 300 metres (980 feet) of the car, the exact location of the customer’s vehicle is displayed on the Hermes app for the driver to see.
Once the delivery driver is within 300 metres (980 feet) of their destination, the exact location of the customer’s vehicle is displayed on the Hermes app (pictured)
VOLKSWAGEN AND HERMES TRAILLED ‘UK-FIRST’ CAR DELIVERY SERVICE IN 2020
Hermes was chosen by Volkswagen as its first partner to trial a UK-first in-car delivery service in 2020.
The Hermes in-car delivery service was trialled in Milton Keynes to boost first time delivery rates.
Registered consumers for the service could receive an SMS or email when one of their parcels arrives at the delivery depot, giving them the option to have it delivered to their car.
Once trials have been conducted and feedback collated, it is envisaged that the service will be rolled out gradually across the UK, Hermes said.
Within 50 metres (160 feet), the delivery driver scans the barcode on the customer’s parcel to create a one-time unlock token for the vehicle. This lets the driver unlock the boot to allow the courier to securely deposit the customer’s package.
For added security, if the delivery driver fails to lock the vehicle after making the delivery, the vehicle locks automatically within a time period automatically set by Ford. For ‘security reasons’, the firm wouldn’t reveal to MailOnline how long this is.
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.
The service is currently not available for multi-storey car parks or gated parking areas, Ford said.
Delivery-to-vehicle also suits people who are returning to working in the office after working from home during the Covid lockdown, the car maker claims.
‘As many of us start to return to our workplaces, we may find ourselves missing crucial package deliveries again,’ it said in a statement.
‘Even those who are still at home may prefer not to interrupt a conference call to answer the door.’
As the pilot expands, Ford and Hermes 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, like a customer’s work address.
Within 50 metres (160 feet), the delivery driver scans the barcode on the customer’s parcel to create a one-time unlock token for the vehicle. This lets the driver unlock the boot and securely deposit the customer’s package
‘We’re committed to exploring innovative delivery methods that provide maximum convenience for our end user customers and we’ve been excited to start this trial as we see big potential,’ said Lynsey Aston, head of product, innovation and onboarding at Hermes.
‘This new delivery option sits alongside existing choices such as delivery to home, another address, office or to a Hermes ParcelShop or Locker whilst supporting our ongoing Covid safe contactless deliveries.’
Ford and Hermes are working together to improve deliveries in other ways – they’re piloting new smart software that coordinates pedestrian couriers alongside traditional delivery vans to help make city parcel deliveries ‘more timely and sustainable’.
They have also launched a new ‘self-driving vehicle research programme’ designed to help businesses in Europe understand how autonomous vehicles can benefit their operations, using a specially adapted Ford Transit van.
Ford is currently working on launching its self-driving business next year after setbacks from the Covid pandemic.
The autonomous vehicles will be based on the Ford Escape Hybrid crossover and developed in partnership with Argo AI, a Pittsburgh-based start-up.
FORD RECRUITS ROBOT DRIVERS TO TRIAL VEHICLES IN EXTREME TEMPERATURES THAT ARE TOO DANGEROUS FOR HUMANS
Ford is using two robotic test drivers – affectionately named Shelby and Miles – to trial its vehicles in extreme temperatures.
The robots are conducting tests in environmental conditions that are too treacherous for any human worker to endure.
Shelby and Miles can operate at temperatures ranging from -40°F to 176°F (-40°C to 80°C) as well as at extreme altitudes, Ford says.
Robotic ‘legs’ are seen here operating the brake and acceleration pedals during Ford’s testing
Their robotic legs extend to the accelerator, brake and clutch pedals, with one arm positioned to change gear and the other used to start and stop the engine.
The tests are taking place at Ford’s secretive ‘weather factory’ in Cologne, Germany – a building the size of a football pitch that’s dedicated to R&D work.