Volvo claims it has demonstrated the "world's first delivery of food to the car" - no, not a drive-thru, but a new shopping system that can allow anything from pizza to perfume to be delivered to vehicles without the need for the owner to be present.
The Chinese-owned Scandinavian brand says its "digital key" system, which operates using its Volvo On Call telematics interface, allows a courier or postal delivery worker to notify the car's owner via smartphone or tablet as to when access will be required to make a delivery to their car. The owner then hands over their digital key, which allows a drop-off to occur. Once that happens, the digital key ceases to exist.
Volvo claims 60 per cent of online shoppers experienced problems with item delivery in 2013, and that more than "half of people are not at home to receive online deliveries". Volvo's technology has been subject to a pilot programme of 100 participants, and the company claims 86 per cent said it saved them time. Volvo claims 92 percent of participants "found it more convenient to receive deliveries to their car than at home".
"By turning the car into a pickup and drop-off zone through using digital keys we solved a lot of problems since it’s now possible to deliver the goods to persons and not to places," said Klas Bendrik, group chief information officer at Volvo Car Group.
Volvo Australia marketing and communications director Oliver Peagam said the system offers some promise for the future.
"The Roam Delivery system is certainly something we would like to have here in Australia, but it is still a way off yet," he said.
Cynics may question how the system will be defended against potential hackers, but there's no word on any safeguards at this point, nor a roll-out timeline.
Volvo is also working on a valet automated parking system, which will essentially park a car for the driver. The company says that system will be offered on its XC-90 SUV which launches later this year.