DHL testing Smart car boot delivery system

Delivery company DHL Parcel is to work with Smart on a pilot scheme in Germany that will allow Smart car owners to use their cars as mobile addresses for parcel drops.

The two companies have been developing the boot drop system over the last few months to ensure that the solution has high security standards for both the goods being picked up or dropped off, as well as the vehicles being used.

DHL released a statement saying that an ‘expanded market’ test will be conducted in Stuttgart, Germany this autumn, and then beyond to Bonn, Berlin and Cologne in the months after.

“By attracting several hundred participants in each city, partners DHL Parcel and Smart aim to collect feedback under near-reality conditions,” said DHL. “Smart owners wanting to take part in the pilot can go to for information and submit their applications from September. Installation of the devices needed to participate in the pilot will be performed at local distributors, with Smart assuming the costs.”

Jürgen Gerdes, CEO Post – eCommerce – Parcel at Deutsche Post DHL Group, commented: “As a leader of innovation in the parcel sector, with DHL Parcel we are pursuing the goal of developing new ideas to supplement our diverse range of solutions to make it easier to send and receive a parcel, and to personalize the process to meet customers’ needs.

“Having successfully tested car-trunk deliveries as part of a pilot in Germany, we are using the knowledge we have gained to work with Smart to develop a new and attractive service for a young, extremely online savvy target group.”

The system requires the Smart car driver and the parcel delivery person to use special apps on their mobile apps. The vehicle owner uses the Smart app to generate a single use transaction authorisation number (TAN) that they enter in the ‘c/o’ box when stating their delivery address for purchases in an online shop.

The DHL parcel courier is informed of the preferred delivery location via an app, receiving time-limited access to the recipient’s car. The single-use TAN the online shopper enters when placing their order enables the courier to locate and open the vehicle within a set period of time. Having gained access to the trunk, the courier can either deposit a parcel or retrieve a shipment for return. Once the courier closes the trunk, the TAN authorizing them access is cancelled. A push message sent via the app notifies the car owner that the delivery has taken place.

This approach is becoming more popular as a delivery option as the security issues are being ironed out. Volvo is testing a similar scheme in Sweden, and this has already won a Retail Customer Access Award at the World Post & Parcel Awards , which took place in Warsaw in June.