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Your Next Online Order Could Be Delivered To Your Car's Trunk 162

Posted by timothy
from the don't-mind-the-bodies-or-fireworks dept.
cartechboy writes "It's amazing how far we've come with technology. Now many of us have the ability to work remotely, and we can even lock/unlock our vehicles via the Internet. And yet, the way we receive our packages from FedEx, UPS, and USPS hasn't really changed. But Volvo thinks it has a way to revolutionize package delivery with Roam Delivery: instead of having packages delivered to your house or office, you could have packages dropped off in the trunk of your car. Volvo says this would work via its new digital keys technology which would allow customers to choose their car as a delivery option when ordering goods online. Via a smartphone or tablet, the owner would be informed when a delivery requires dropping off or picking up from the car. Accepting the delivery will enable a digital key which tracks when the car is opened, and then when it's locked again. The digital key expires once the delivery is complete. Not only does this sound pretty slick, but the technology to make it happen is pretty simple. Now the only question is whether you really want your Amazon box being delivered to your vehicle."
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Your Next Online Order Could Be Delivered To Your Car's Trunk

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  • by alta (1263) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:04PM (#46296401) Homepage Journal

    You end up with a nice large expensive thing sitting on top of your car until you get there to deal with it.

    • ONE WORD: (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:08PM (#46296471) Homepage Journal

      "Silkroad."

      • by morgauxo (974071)

        I'm pretty sure the process of getting that digital key identifies you, or at least identifies the owner of the car. This isn't a way to anonymously get deliveries.

        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          I'm pretty sure the process of getting that digital key identifies you, or at least identifies the owner of the car. This isn't a way to anonymously get deliveries.

          Uhhh, if the key doesn't identify you, I'm sure the car registration is a dead giveaway. You know they're going to record that when they do the delivery.

    • You may want to refrain from having a 73" TV delivered to your car then.

      Would it be much better being dropped off in front of your house, waiting for you to get home? Because that always works out well.

      • by jeffmeden (135043)

        You may want to refrain from having a 73" TV delivered to your car then.

        Would it be much better being dropped off in front of your house, waiting for you to get home? Because that always works out well.

        So instead of thieves pilfering porches, they will just follow the UPS/Fedex drivers around and smash/grab from cars. Welcome to the future! I might be lucky but my area of residence is littered with UPS, Fedex, and USPS pickups (all within 2mi, close to the highways) so package delivery has for some time been a non-issue, I simply pick it up from the depot on the way home from work, and that's that. Not sure why that "technology" isnt being investigated more (besides the Amazon locker idea) but oh well.

        • by MitchDev (2526834)

          No kidding, the ideas these companies come up with just keep getting dumber

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by p43751 (170402)

            I thought the opposite! What a brilliant idea, now all the poor people who live in their car can get their stuff delivered.

            • Just think, this allows an additional way to access your car without you needing to be there. That couldn't possibly be abused by paranoid/corrupt/curious law enforcement/neighbors/competitors.
        • by X0563511 (793323)

          Is there a means to have UPS just leave it at the depot for you, without their attempting delivery first?

          • by Lumpy (12016)

            no, UPS is dumb that way. Plus they are closing local depots and going to regional. do you really want to drive 50 miles to get your package?

            • by mythosaz (572040)

              Everyone else appears to live in a world where UPS just doesn't leave everything and anything blindly on their doorstep.

              I come home to packages laying at my front door all the time.

              • by mcl630 (1839996)

                If the package is "Signature Required", they will not leave it at your doorstep.

                • Please explain that to MY UPS delivery guy. He leaves it on the front porch regardless of the delivery instructions.
                  • by jeffmeden (135043)

                    Please explain that to MY UPS delivery guy. He leaves it on the front porch regardless of the delivery instructions.

                    Delivery instructions are not delivery requirements: if they require an adult signature (the most strict delivery option) there is no way it's getting dropped on your doorstep. If that happens, report it to UPS and you will have a new driver within the week.

                • by mythosaz (572040)

                  If the package is "Signature Required", they will not leave it at your doorstep.

                  Hahaha. Oh, wait, you're serious? Let me laugh even harder. [youtube.com]

              • by Lumpy (12016)

                I have a special "bin" for packages so they are hidden from view at the street but the UPS and Fedex guy cant figure out how to put a package in it, even with a big sign that says, "PUT THE PACKAGES OVER HERE" with an arrow. It's an open top small bin/corral and is actually easier for them to use.

                • by mysidia (191772)

                  I think you're better off building a big fence around your property, with a secured gate, and supplying UPS/Fedex with the "gate code".

                  Security gates are common.

                  Bins are not.

                  • by Lumpy (12016)

                    Nope, the rich guy down the street has that and I always see packages on the sidewalk in front of the gate.

          • Now they have "Hold for Pickup" and they'll hold it for 5 days. I've never used it though. In the past I had to wait for them to try to deliver it for 3 days then they would hold it at the depot and I could pick it up. Like a lot of people, I'm at work during the day, so there was no possible way for me to be at home for deliveries.

            Once UPS actually let me intercept a package at a distribution hub in Massachusetts. I was pretty surprised they allowed it. (it was post-9/11) I waited around until it got scan

          • by Aryden (1872756)
            UPS is one of the worst ways to have a package delivered. Every order(19) I have had shipped to me in the last 2 years, I have had to go pick up at a distribution hub. They will continually leave a notification on the door telling me that they couldn't deliver my package because the address is incorrect.... Well, HOW THE HELL DID YOU LEAVE THE NOTE?
            • Worse than that, during Christmas they claimed they delivered my package, but they really didn't. I had to get the seller to initiate an investigation, the conclusion of which was that it had actually been returned to the sender for no good reason and without apology. I get it that Christmas is busy, and if it had merely been late I'd have gotten over it. But they treated me really shabbily.

              Incidentally, so did the seller, which took three days to respond to each of my inquiries, had no phone number, ign

          • by MachDelta (704883)

            There really isn't. It's because special/delivery instructions aren't read by anyone sorting the packages, they're read by the drivers. And by that point, your box is already on a truck and in your neighbourhood. So they will almost always attempt delivery once because it helps keep the driver's delivery rate up.

            Source: I worked for UPS (which stands for "Ur Package... Somewhere?") ~10yrs ago.

          • by jeffmeden (135043)

            Is there a means to have UPS just leave it at the depot for you, without their attempting delivery first?

            UPS MyChoice is rather convenient, you can have it held at the depot, held for a specific delivery date, or add additional instructions. UPS also immediately grants you "ownership" of the shipment as soon as they have it, via name/address matching, so you will always know about deliveries, even if the shipper is lame and doesnt send you tracking info for a few days. If you ship any amount via UPS you really should have it (its free).

      • by alta (1263)

        I'm more concerned about when they put something small in a rediculously oversized box.

        Now me personally, I drive an Armada, so I'll take any sized TV!

    • I worry about the dead body being found in the boot.

      • by LoRdTAW (99712)

        Jeez. What are you some kinda gangster rookie? Get with the program greenhorn. That is why you use someone elses car.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Where do buy dead bodies for delivery? I checked Amazon but came up with nothing.

      • An appropriate concern - I think the delivery people would be inclined to report ones they find. It's probably best to transport dead bodies in a car whose boot requires a mechanical key.
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      A few times I have found packages dumped in the patio of my condo, for me or for a neighbor, and since I rarely go back there then there can be some rain damage. Seriously, if they just dump a neighbor's box over the wrong fence and claim it's "delivered", there's no way they can deliver to an automobile reliably.

    • So make it small. But this seems like it would be an incredibly lazy way to do my favorite comedian's marital advice: Go out today, buy your wife a present. Wrap it, hide it in the trunk of your car. Someday she'll look at you and you will know you have forgotten something. That's the day to give her the present. -- Red Green Show

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      Nah, they'll just push the dead hooker a bit to one side.
  • by jones_supa (887896) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:06PM (#46296449)
    In Soviet Russia, someone could order you to be delivered in the trunk of a car.
  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:07PM (#46296453)

    UPS/FedEx/USPS have efficient routing because your house doesn't move. They can plan the best way to get from the warehouse/depot to a set of locations throughout the day. I think this is akin to the traveling salesman problem...

    Now, if you have it delivered to your car, which is mobile, how are they supposed to coordinate this? If the truck leaves the depot at 7am, and my car is detected at my house, the truck has a route optimized for delivery to my house. If I go to the grocery store at 9am, does the truck re-reroute to the grocery store and then if I go to the bank 30min later re-route again?

    Doubt it.

    This might work if you tell them that your car will be in a fixed location throughout the day. But I'm not sure that civilian GPS is sensitive enough to tell the driver where your car is when it's in a parking lot with 500 other cars.

    • But it will get you within 30 ish feet and at that point flash the lights or open the trunk you might notice it.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        But it will get you within 30 ish feet and at that point flash the lights or open the trunk you might notice it.

        What a remarkable idea. When the driver gets in the vicinity of the car, he pops the trunk. And when he doesn't find the car and drives off, your trunk lid will be open for everyone who passes by. Brings a new meaning to what the brits call a "boot sale", doesn't it?

        I expect that any such service will give the driver the "key" as well as a description of the vehicle and the registration data.

        What I want to know is if I'm not home to accept delivery, who is going to let him into my garage so he can leave

    • by jythie (914043)
      The mass companies yeah, I do not see it working, but I could see courier type delivery companies working with this option. It could potentially fit with their delivery model quite well. Granted few people use couriers for all but the 'this needs to get somewhere NOW' stuff, but there is a place for that. I could see popping on Amazon while at work and needing something by tonight but not having time to go out, and thus having the option to have the whatever delivered by courier strait to my car. I ca
    • by jeffmeden (135043) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:40PM (#46296935) Homepage Journal

      UPS/FedEx/USPS have efficient routing because your house doesn't move. They can plan the best way to get from the warehouse/depot to a set of locations throughout the day. I think this is akin to the traveling salesman problem...

      Now, if you have it delivered to your car, which is mobile, how are they supposed to coordinate this? If the truck leaves the depot at 7am, and my car is detected at my house, the truck has a route optimized for delivery to my house. If I go to the grocery store at 9am, does the truck re-reroute to the grocery store and then if I go to the bank 30min later re-route again?

      Doubt it.

      This might work if you tell them that your car will be in a fixed location throughout the day. But I'm not sure that civilian GPS is sensitive enough to tell the driver where your car is when it's in a parking lot with 500 other cars.

      Working backward: a modern GPS receiver in a car will get within 15', leaving a circle of maybe 10 cars. On top of that the driver no doubt has a description of the vehicle and the ability to flash/honk the vehicle.

      The car delivery is likely to be practical/profitable when cars are concentrated (i.e. when you are at work) so no, someone who doesnt leave their car in the same place for 8-9 hrs/day is not likely to be a candidate for this.

      Fortunately a good number of workers in the US work in high density areas, and park in surface lots with easy access. Its a lot easier than crisscrossing the suburbs, but then again until nearly every car can do it, the advantage of any major carrier picking up this technology is pretty limited.

      • by nabsltd (1313397)

        The car delivery is likely to be practical/profitable when cars are concentrated (i.e. when you are at work) so no, someone who doesnt leave their car in the same place for 8-9 hrs/day is not likely to be a candidate for this.

        Of course, if this really takes off, then no one will be able to drive the group to lunch, as they are all waiting for a package to be delivered to their car.

        Seriously, though, if they can deliver to my car parked outside of my office, why don't I just have them deliver to the office? There is no real value in this service unless it does track the car's movements.

      • by number17 (952777)

        Fortunately a good number of workers in the US work in high density areas, and park in surface lots with easy access.

        High density areas have parking garages or surface lots with automatic payment gates. This is not easy access. Postal trucks don't pay for parking.

    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      UPS/FedEx/USPS have efficient routing because your house doesn't move. They can plan the best way to get from the warehouse/depot to a set of locations throughout the day. I think this is akin to the traveling salesman problem...

      Now, if you have it delivered to your car, which is mobile, how are they supposed to coordinate this? If the truck leaves the depot at 7am, and my car is detected at my house, the truck has a route optimized for delivery to my house. If I go to the grocery store at 9am, does the truck re-reroute to the grocery store and then if I go to the bank 30min later re-route again?

      Doubt it.

      This might work if you tell them that your car will be in a fixed location throughout the day. But I'm not sure that civilian GPS is sensitive enough to tell the driver where your car is when it's in a parking lot with 500 other cars.

      Oh and, it's a version of the Travelling Salesman problem, but it's not "The" travelling salesman problem since the difference between P and NP to a delivery driver is rather hard to express. Delivery companies have no problem enumerating all routes since transistors have outnumbered roads for some time.

      • It is a restricted version of the TSP, restricted in that the triangle inequality holds (going from Alice's place to Cora's isn't longer than going from Alice's to Bob's and then to Cora's), so there are heuristics that work well. On the one hand, a route with forty deliveries is not going to be brute-forced; on the other hand, businesses tend not to care about the absolutely optimum solution to a given problem.

    • by icebike (68054)

      This might work if you tell them that your car will be in a fixed location throughout the day. But I'm not sure that civilian GPS is sensitive enough to tell the driver where your car is when it's in a parking lot with 500 other cars.

      This is exactly what I was thinking.

      On the other hand, presumably GPS 15-to-50 foot radius is close enough, in a large parking lot, because there are only 5 to 10 cars withing that circle. Street parked cars would have even fewer cars in that area. The Package service drives up, presses the button and watches for which trunk opens, (checks the license plate) and drops off / picks up the package.

      As for coordination, that's where it gets messy. As you say, cars move, and the car would have to provide its lo

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      But I'm not sure that civilian GPS is sensitive enough to tell the driver where your car is when it's in a parking lot with 500 other cars.

      It is. The GPS on my cellphone can distinguish one side of my car from the other, even.

      • by Agent0013 (828350)
        That doesn't mean that two different GPS receivers will give the same coordinates for one side of your car though. It also does not mean you will get the same coordinates if you use the same GPS receiver at the same exact location at different times. Either morning and afternoon, or two different days. Hell, even if you walked 50 feet away and walked back to the same spot you will probably get slightly different readings.
    • It would have to be scheduled in advance. Far enough that where your car will ultimately be, so too where the warehouse/depot will be be the closest. That mean you can't move your car once it's in route. Given the transportation industry as a whole is focused around the mantra of JIT delivery, I suspect this is going to be both a logistical nightmare in terms of both routing and storage. I mention storage too because I can envision a whole lot of packages being returned back to the depot whereas the onus no

  • by DeTech (2589785) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:09PM (#46296487)
    This seems like a good idea at first, but I don't think it'll fit well within the current delivery system. Packages tend to make it to your local (town) sorting facility the day before you get them... so you'll have to know where your car will be at least a day before your package get's delivered? Cars have a bad habit of moving between towns, would your package be routed to a new sorting facility or would the delivery truck try to chase you down?
    • by Kardos (1348077)

      It would make sense for people who drive to work, and leave their car in the parking lot from 9-5. These people will not be home to accept delivery because they're at work. That's the subset of people that this idea targets; not everybody.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        That's why I have packages delivered to me at work. I get an email from receptionist when it arrives then go and pick it up.

    • by PPH (736903)

      or would the delivery truck try to chase you down?

      That whining noise you hear on the freeway. Its not a Stuka dive bomber. Its the Amazon drone closing in on your car.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:10PM (#46296513)

    This seems like a solution in search of a problem.

    If my car is at home, the package can be delivered to my home. If my car is at work, the package can be delivered to my work. And if my employer objects, I imagine they would also object to packages being delivered to the trunk of my on-premises vehicle.

    And actually, most of the time when I'm at work, my car is parked near where I catch the train. But I'm sure no one with a crowbar would EVER consider keeping an eye on places where many unattended cars are left every day...

    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      Never mind the fact that there are things in my trunk I'd prefer remain there, and not with the UPS deliveryman. I'm also struggling for a scenario where I need something delivered, and my home address/work address/PO Box/Amazon locker aren't sufficient.
    • by PPH (736903)

      If my car is at home, the package can be delivered to my home. If my car is at work, the package can be delivered to my work.

      At work, the receptionist will just page me that my package from Latex Bondage Clothing has arrived.

      At home, its not my wife's size.

    • You could purchase a junker and park it at your yard.
    • by number17 (952777)

      my car is parked near where I catch the train

      Ah, the "auto parts store" [thestar.com].

  • by Anonymous Coward

    got in the trunk of my car. Amazon must have put them their by mistake!

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:14PM (#46296589)
    While this sounds like a fantastic idea in theory, has anyone thought about the privacy and security problems with someone knowing the location of your car and tracking your whereabouts? Suppose that these were not issues, how would the logistics work about routes? UPS and FedEx devote enormous amounts of computing power to figure out the optimal route. How is that going to work with moving delivery locations?
  • How about a big NO.
  • by PPH (736903) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:20PM (#46296669)

    Dispose of hooker's body before UPS drops off wife's birthday gift.

    • by MrP- (45616)

      Better idea: Blame the UPS driver for delivering a dead hooker with your package and get away with it!

  • by Cro Magnon (467622) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:23PM (#46296697) Homepage Journal

    If my car is home, I might as well have it delivered to my house. I work where you need an ID to get into the parking lot, so that's out. I'm usually not anywhere else long enough to get packages (has mental image of a delivery vehicle chasing my car down the highway).

    • by ediron2 (246908)

      > I work where you need an ID to get into the parking lot, so that's out.

      I like the mental picture of a brown van with a boom doing 70mph deliveries into your car trunk, hollywood-style!

      But processes exist for this. Delivery agents get vetted then bonded and issued limited-access badges to make their deliveries (either to Receiving, a loading dock, or the front office). Worst-case: your stuff goes thru that old channel, just like it always did. Intermediate: on days when you expect a delivery you park

  • by DriveDog (822962) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:25PM (#46296719)
    I probably just haven't heard of this idea before. But there are very few ideas that are this innovative. Yes, I'll have to commit to having my car in the parking lot at 101 North Main Street from 9 to 5 on a particular day, but it's there every weekday anyhow. And why just UPS/etc? I can give one-time keys to anyone I choose. The Feds will hate this because a mobile lockbox will be so much harder to investigate, right up to the day when they learn how to crack it (or are given a back door). Then they'll love it. However, it'll make framing people a lot easier, too. I suspect there'll be a lookup table specifying, by car model, how large a parcel one can receive.
    • But what happens when the UPS driver looks up in the table and sees that the box with the toaster oven will fit, and then opens up your trunk and sees 49 little boxes left by DHL a half hour earlier?
  • So I can have Gone in Sixty Seconds delivered to my car and have them both stolen before I get off work!
  • Howzabout having your driver-less car queue up at a curb-side delivery area, outside of a distribution point?
    Then, the car's trunk gets opened remotely, or there is a single-use code to open it?

    • After reading TFA, I wondered why this hadn't already been done on a large scale. After all, for the most part, the hardware is already in place. It's just a software/process problem. But then I read a few of the comments here, and realized that it hadn't already been done because many lack the imagination to see how well this is going to work. "Just have it delivered to your house"??? So it's either stolen or sits outside in the rain all day. Nice. "Just have it delivered to your office"??? Are you sure it

  • If only there were some sort of box in front of my house, maybe with a lock on it, that a delivery could be made to... oh, wait. How about we just work on inter-company cooperation between the USPS and UPS/Fedex/Etc?

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Whoa. You get so much stuff they actually put a box on your front law? Hell when I was getting $20k/week delivered to my house they wouldn't do that. And that's more than most companies get around here delivered to their dump box.

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      Even in places where they have the full-size mailboxes (the round-topped metal ones about 18 inches long), those boxes aren't large enough for lots of deliveries. Not only that, but they don't usually lock. The locking mailboxes I've seen only have a slot, so if your package is more than an inch thick, it won't fit.

      If you're talking about those community mailboxes (usually a group of 16 boxes in one), those boxes are tiny. They usually have a hard time just stuffing all the junk mail in them.

  • Some people might not like putting junk in their trunk.
  • by slapout (93640)

    So the mob owns Volvo now. Who knew?

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      Actually, the Chinese own Volvo.

    • So the Chinese mafia screws up and has two container loads of girls arrive on the same day. The intake processor only has room for one bunch, so a delivery driver gets bribed, and every trunk delivery comes with an extra Chinese girl that day...
  • by holophrastic (221104) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @04:06PM (#46298029)

    The whole point of locking my car, and my trunk, is to prevent access to it. I have zero interest is some skeezy delivery man opening my trunk. Forget about my sensitive business documents, and my expensive roadside safety equipment, what I really don't want the delivery guy to see is the package from the previous delivery guy.

    Quite frankly, I'd prefer to give him a key to my house -- at least then he doesn't need to re-organize my stuff to make room.

    Of course, it'd be a lot easier to give him the key to the tool shed in my backyard.

    But easier than all of that is what I do right now -- leave it with the neighbour.

    And finally, the best option of all, just leave it at the front door. It's a safe neighbourhood. If it weren't, I wouldn't have chosen to spend hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep all of my stuff there.

  • they protect my credit card info?

  • Imagine having a full-size fridge delivered to the trunk of a Mini. ...or having something delivered to your off-road vehicle which is parked in in some crazily inaccessible location. ...or scheduling something to be urgently delivered to you the same day you're driving across the US. How far would the truck really follow you?

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @04:44PM (#46298397)
    I found an exploit and it only took me 3 seconds. Someone orders you a package, pretends to be you the second it gets delivered, leaves the trunk open, steals the package and the car by climbing in.
  • I bike to work!
  • ... if you park your car in the FedEx/UPS/USPS parking lot.
  • In summer months almost anywhere, and even fall/spring in warm areas (read: half the USA), this would put your goods in very uncomfortable temperatures, even for non-perishables (ever had plastic melt while it's in the car trunk?)

  • I work in an area that has a high number of large companies with big parking lots. Nearby there's plenty of places to eat, and all employers warn their employees never to leave laptops in their car, in sight, when they go to lunch. As it's a common occurrence for people to walk the restaurant parking lots and "smash n grab" a laptop bag.

    So now you're providing the opportunity for someone to sit in a parking lot, wait for a UPS/FedEx truck to drive around, identify a vehicle, deliver a package and drive aw

  • Volvo plans to sell businesses the right to open your trunk.

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

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