With the boom in online shopping – and the resulting challenge for logistics companies to create more efficient and safe deliveries – Ford and Hermes UK have now come up with a solution. Why not deliver parcels to your car where they will be safe and dry and can be picked up at your convenience?
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. The project also speeds up deliveries by saving drivers from having to knock on doors, climb stairs or find a neighbour to take the parcel when you’re not home.
“Together with Hermes, we are looking at more secure and efficient ways to deliver parcels, to match the increasing demands coming from online purchases,” commented Mark Harvey, Director, Enterprise Connectivity, 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 offered to customers with the FordPass app, expanding the range of connected services already available via the app. The option comes at no extra cost and ensures social distancing requirements are adhered to. As the pilot expands, Ford and Hermes UK 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.
When shopping with 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. Customers will also be able to have a home delivery, if so desired.
Once the delivery driver is within 300m of their destination, the exact location of the customer’s vehicle is displayed on the Hermes app. Within 50m, 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/locking is enabled through permissions granted by the recipient via the FordPass app. If the vehicle is not within 300m 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 Secure Delivery to Vehicle pilot is just one example of Ford and Hermes working together to improve deliveries. The two companies are piloting smart 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 their businesses.
“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,” concluded Lynsey Aston, Head of Product, Innovation and Onboarding, Hermes UK. “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.”