Ford has partnered with parcel firm Hermes to trial the delivery of packages to vehicles located at home addresses.
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. Offered to customers with the FordPass app, the project aims speeds up deliveries by saving drivers from having to collect parcels from neighbours.
When shopping with selected retailers, those taking part in the pilot will have “delivery-to-vehicle” as the standard option for delivery and can provide details of the vehicle’s location.
Once the delivery driver is within 300 metres of the 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 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.
Mark Harvey, director, enterprise connectivity, Ford of Europe, said: “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.”
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, for example at the customer’s work address.
The secure delivery to vehicle pilot is one example of Ford and Hermes working together to improve deliveries. The two companies are piloting new 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 working with customers to better understand how autonomous vehicles could integrate into businesses.