Amazon announced today that it has formed a partnership with General Motors and Volvo to offer deliveries inside your car, which, according to The Wall Street Journal, will give the retail giant access to “potentially millions of vehicles” across 37 U.S. markets. The move could also be a way for Amazon to get consumers used to the idea of package delivery inside personal spaces and act as a stepping stone towards in-home delivery.

In-car delivery is available to Prime members and is part of the Amazon Key service, which was launched last year and allows Amazon to make package deliveries inside your house while you’re away.

For now, Amazon in-car delivery works with compatible 2015 or newer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicles with active OnStar accounts, or Volvos from 2015 or later with an active Volvo On Call account. To get in-car delivery, users download the Amazon Key App and link their Amazon account with their connected car service account. Once the address of their car has been registered, customers select the “In-Car” delivery option at checkout. On the delivery day, customers receive a 4-hour time window for delivery and ensure that their car is parked within the range of the delivery location. The car is then remotely unlocked and the package is placed inside.

For anyone who might be concerned about giving a total stranger access to their car, in the press announcement, Amazon states:

Each time a delivery driver requests access to a customer’s vehicle, Amazon verifies that an authorized driver is at the right location with the right package, through an encrypted authentication process. Once this process is successfully completed, the car is then unlocked. Customers receive a notification via the Amazon Key App after the delivery is completed and the vehicle is relocked. No special codes or keys are ever provided to delivery drivers.

The press release doesn’t mention anything about groceries, but it’s not hard to imagine having staples like bread, sodas and other non-perishables waiting in your car either when you walk out of your office or waiting in your car in your driveway when you get home. As the delivery window inevitably shrinks down from four hours to something more narrow, the options for groceries will no doubt increase.

Amazon never ceases to surprise us, and perhaps this in-car delivery will expand beyond your driveway or office parking lot. Domino’s Pizza just rolled out delivery to landmark locations using what3words, so customers can get pizza delivered to parks or other generalized locations. If Amazon has your car information, there’s no reason it can’t deliver packages wherever you’re parked for an extended period of time.

But after watching the accompanying Amazon customer testimonial video, the bigger play for In-Car delivery seems to be as a gateway drug to get more people to use Amazon Key’s in-home delivery service. A recent survey from Insurance Quotes found that only 31 percent of respondents were comfortable with the idea of in-home delivery while they were away.

Perhaps they’ll be more comfortable allowing deliveries into their cars parked in their driveways. Not only is putting a package in your trunk a way to avoid package theft, but it can also allow for home deliveries without interrupting your day. Once they’ve experienced a few in-car deliveries, customers might suddenly feel a bit easier with a driver placing a package in their foyer.

If that doesn’t work, perhaps an Amazon robot answering your door and signing for packages will do the trick.

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  1. Makes a lot of sense, but figured someone would have just rolled out a ‘4th’ colored bin for deliveries to go along with our recycle, garbage and green waste bins. Perhaps in Amazon orange?

    • The idea of a home-delivery box has been one I’ve thought of for a long time and startups have tried. For some reason, no one has really made a strong effort here. I think Amazon’s answer to home is dropping indoors with Amazon Key. That said, I think there’s still a large number of people uncomfortable with people going in their homes without them there. The trunk is a good safe/in-between space.

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