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Volvo to turn cars into boxes for online shoppers

STOCKHOLM - Swedish auto maker Volvo said on Thursday it was developing a system to enable online shopping deliveries direct to customers' cars rather than their homes.
One of Volvo's new concept cars, the coupe, which may be launched in the next few years. Volvo is launching a technology to allow deliveries to cars instead of homes. Image: Volvo
The company said it had created a single-use digital key, which postal or delivery services can use to locate a vehicle and open it.

"The system will allow consumers to have shopping delivered straight to their car, no matter where they are", the company said in a statement.

"Via a smartphone or a tablet, the owner will be informed when a delivery company wants to drop off or pick up something from the car," they added.

The owner of the car then accepts the delivery and can track when the car is opened.

The technology provides a solution for people who are on the move and need to receive deliveries away from their home or office. The company said failed deliveries cost courier companies around €1bn in re-delivery costs each year.

"The technology was tested during a pilot programme of 100 people, 86% who agreed that 'roam delivery' saved them time," Volvo said. "The future car will be much more than just a means of transportation."

The company will present the new technology at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but has not set a launch date for it.

"We are in talks with different partners," innovation manager Johan Maresch said.

Chinese-owned Volvo is attempting to move into the high-end car segment, to join brands such as Audi or BMW, as well as position itself as one of the most innovative marques in the market.

It has promised to put the first self-driving cars on Swedish roads by 2017 and pledged that nobody will be injured on the road in Volvo cars from 2020.

Source: AFP via I-Net Bridge
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