As many of us start to return to our workplaces, we may find ourselves missing crucial package deliveries again. Even those who are still at home may prefer not to interrupt a conference call to answer the door.
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. 1 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. 2 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.
The delivery-to-vehicle option is offered to customers with the FordPass app, expanding the range of connected services already available via the app.3 The option comes at no extra cost and ensures social distancing requirements are adhered to. 4 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.
How it works
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 300 metres of their 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. 5
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. 3 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.
More efficient and secure deliveries
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.
“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.”
Mark Harvey, director, Enterprise Connectivity, Ford of Europe
“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. 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.”
Lynsey Aston, Head of Product, Innovation and Onboarding, Hermes UK
1 In the UK alone, ecommerce now accounts for 30 per cent of retail sales, up from just over 20 per cent in 2019 (https://hostingdata.co.uk/online-shopping-statistics-uk/). In a recent survey, 86 per cent across Europe said they will continue to shop online more after the pandemic (‘Ecommerce Delivery Benchmark Report 2021’, https://info.metapack.com/rs/700-ZMT-762/images/Ecommerce%20Delivery%20Benchmark%20Report%202021.pdf).
2 The service is currently not available for multi-storey carparks or gated parking areas.
3 FordPass App, compatible with select smartphone platforms, is available via a download. Message and data rates may apply. The app enables a range of connected services, including checking on vehicle health, fuel levels and range, plus the remote locking and unlocking of doors.
4 Ford and Hermes recommend recipients always wash their hands after handling a parcel. Infectious viruses, such as the coronavirus, can be detected on cardboard for up to 24 hours and on plastic for up to 72 hours. (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200320192755.htm)
5 To ensure vehicles remain secure, the delivery driver is the only one who can unlock the vehicle, and can only do so using the one-time token via the Hermes app.