With each passing week, the American automobile becomes more of an integral part of the Internet of things. The latest sign of that trend is today's announcement that Ford is joining Amazon's Key In-Car program that allows the online retailer to drop off packages in customer's parked vehicles.
“We may not be the first, but we're looking to expand this rapidly and build out an ecosystem of services,” said Ford's Lorin Kennedy in an interview with OntheRoadtoAutonomy.
Amazon launched the In-Car service just over a year ago. It's available for Prime subscribers and operates in about 50 metropolitan areas around the U.S. There's no extra charge for the deliveries and Amazon drivers locate vehicles using the GPS on the customer's car. Kennedy also pointed out that the delivery person can flash the target's lights and honk the horn to find the car in a crowded parking lot.
Initially, the In-Car service will be available on select Ford models from 2017 and later (using FordPass Connect) and specific Lincoln models from 2018 and later (using Lincoln Connect). Aside from the convenience, users are bound to find new advantages to the service. Kennedy pointed out that she's already used the service for gift delivery so that family members aren't tipped off at home.
How comfortable people will be with such services remains to be seen. Kennedy said that Ford definitely has an eye to the future as it learns how customers feel about the growing number of connected options (Ford already offers a car washing service in some areas). She also acknowledged that everyone is thinking about an autonomous car future and how services like In-Car delivery will make owners' lives easier.