For anyone tired of having their things stolen off their front porch, Amazon is providing a new service that protects your packages.
On Tuesday, they announced in-car delivery. The service is now available to Prime subscribers in 37 cities including Baltimore.
Unlike Amazon Key in-home delivery, no additional equipment is required. The service is also free.
All you need to do is download the Amazon Key app and enter the required information. The service is compatible with vehicles that are 2015 or newer and include Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, or Volvo with an active connected car service plan like OnStar or Volvo's equivalent. Click here to see if your car is eligible for the service.
Amazon will notify the customer of an expected delivery window, typically four hours. They require that the car is parked within two blocks of the selected delivery address in an areas that's publicly accessible. Amazon will authorize the driver before the car is unlocked and then the customer receives notifications when the package is delivered and car is relocked.
Jenny Williams, a Prime subscriber in California, has tried the service. She uses it to hide gifts from her kids but she also likes the convenience factor.
"I've also been at a friend's house and needed something quick that day," said Williams.
She said it's easy to use and is not concerned about the driver having access to her vehicle.
"As the customer, I was in complete control. I can log-in, I can block access to my car at any point of the delivery, and then after the delivery happens, I can log-in and see that my car has been relocked," Williams said.
Marie Yeh, an assistant professor of marketing with Loyola University Maryland, thinks more people may be inclined to try the service, especially if they already have a compatible vehicle.
"The in-home delivery service required you to do something. You did have to buy the camera, you did have to buy the lock for your door and that costs money and you also frequently had to have it installed," said Yeh.
Amazon Key in-home kits start at around $200. Now that Amazon has acquired Ring there's a chance the cameras for in-home delivery will change. However, a public relations representative for Amazon said they have nothing to share at this point but it's certainly on the list for them to start thinking about.
And with in-home delivery, you have to be okay with someone opening the door to your home while you're away.
Even with the in-car delivery service, there's trust involved. You need to trust that the driver puts your package somewhere out of sight so you don't become the target of a break-in.
"If for some reason the package cannot fit in the trunk of your car, they will place it in the cabin of the car but they will do everything they can to hide it the best that they can," Williams said.
And as Amazon's amenities continue to expand, we're hearing rumors of a very futuristic product in the works - the Amazon home robot.
"Would it vacuum the floor as it goes? Would it be able to do mundane tasks like fold the laundry or do the laundry or do the dishes or put away the dishes? So, you would have to think are the tasks easily programmable enough to have a robot do them and I think some people would really welcome that," said Yeh.
A representative for Amazon would not comment on the rumors.
Baltimore City Police Chief T.J. Smith said delivery to the trunk may be a good option to evade thieves, but that storage lockers in well-lit areas are probably the safest option.
Interesting concept. But we also encourage people to secure and hide their valuables. On its face, it seems better than leaving on a front porch, but it certainly could make your car a target.
— T.J. Smith (@TJSmithMedia) April 24, 2018