Volvo gives update on its boot delivery service

Volvo is beginning to roll out a connected car service which allows packages to be delivered to a car boot, negating the need for the customer to wait around for a delivery.

Using the Internet of Things (IoT), Volvo's In-Car Delivery service is available in Gothenburg and is expanding to Stockholm, with plans to roll out globally.

Johan Maresch, senior invention manager, Volvo Car Group, said the worst thing about home delivery is the requirement to be at home to receive the package. "That's not really what I’m looking for, I'm avoiding the store in the first place," he said.

Speaking at MetaPack's Delivery Conference in London this week, Maresch said Volvo cars have already been connected for 15 years, beginning as a safety feature which would call the emergency services if the car was involved in a collision.

"But five years ago we thought we could do more and we created an app, where you can get details of where your car is, its status, petrol and washer fluid levels, and details about the latest trips made."

Maresch also said this app will alert the owner if they step away from the car without locking it, giving them the option to secure the vehicle from the mobile application. The next step for this technology was to create a temporary key for a delivery person to use the car boot as a locker for parcels.

"The concept of putting packages in safe box has been around for a while, but we also have a safe box travelling around with us - it’s wherever you are," he said.

He said the need for this service was greater in Sweden because people living in remote areas of the country would not be able to buy groceries online as their address was out of the delivery area. He joked saying his boss was affected by this problem, which is probably why Volvo's innovation team got the funding to create the service.

"My boss is out of reach, but when she goes to work, her car is in the delivery area and she can receive her grocery shopping to her car," explains Maresch. "And delivering to 10 cars in a car park is more effective than 10 houses spread around."

The first pilot was conducted in 2013/14 and 95% of participants felt safe giving away the ability for someone to open their car, while 81% thought it saved time. "People were annoyed when we stopped the trial," he said, noting that it was a good sign.

Maresch explained the digital temporary keys are encrypted within a timeframe and Volvo has control and traceability over the keys. Meanwhile, the car manufacturer also provides insurance for fire and theft until the customer gets into their car.

"We are now live, since Black Friday 2015, working with Swedish partners," he said. "It's working very well and is growing, we started in Gothenburg, and we're expanding to Stockholm. The aim is global expansion."