Volvo Introduces “Roam Delivery” Services to Connected Cars—But Why?

Volvo Roam Delivery

The concept of “connected cars,” or vehicles that are linked to the internet, holds a number of appealing possibilities, like the ability to lock or unlock your car from a smartphone, start the engine, and run diagnostics. Volvo, however, has come up with one connected-car idea that is a bit . . . strange. Dubbed “roam delivery,” Volvo’s experimental connected-car service augments Volvo’s On Call telematics app, and enables European delivery companies to deliver goods to cars–wherever they might be.

Essentially, Volvo’s roam delivery service combines two cloud-enabled tricks: First, it gives delivery companies access to your car’s location, and second, it allows them to remotely unlock your car (via a so-called “digital key”) to drop off the delivery and then lock it again. Simple. According to Volvo, 60 percent of people experienced “delivery problems through online shopping last year,” mostly to do with not being present at their home to sign for deliveries. That sort of makes sense, but then Volvo added the head-scratcher of a test case for roam delivery: The shipment of food to a Volvo car. We’re under the impression that food-delivery services are ideal for car-less people in urban areas, but if you have a car, why wouldn’t you just, uh, use it to go to the grocery store and save the delivery charge?

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Volvo Roam Delivery

From our perspective, we’d just have stuff shipped to our office, but we suppose Volvo’s service would be great for folks whose work often takes them on the go, like cabbies or—need we say it—other delivery drivers and couriers. Aside from the we’ve-entered-an-alternate-dimension scenario involving a UPS driver delivering a package to a courier service’s Volvo wagon, roam delivery’s other drawbacks include the spookiness of letting someone lock and unlock your car without you present, as well as questionable logistics surrounding the hunting of (highly mobile) cars as delivery points. Volvo claims this technology could save delivery companies billions in “re-delivery costs” by sparing them the need to make a second trip to a delivery location in search of a package signee. But how much of a dent will online shoppers who also own late-model Volvos make?

About Alexander Stoklosa