Volvo is the third company to try delivering shopping direct to your car

Volvo has gained some attention today with a pilot service that will deliver online purchases to the back of your car, even when you're not there. But it's only the third (at least) company to try the same idea....

Delivering packages to the back of a Volvo car...
Delivering to the back of a Volvo... Photo: Volvo Car Group / Jonas Ingman @ Bruksbild
Volvo has started delivering groceries and Christmas shopping direct to cars, using a one-time digital access key. The company's CIO, Klas Bendrik, claims the service is a great time-saver, and that customer satisfaction has been very high on the pilot scheme.

The pilot scheme is, of course, very restricted: it only works with subscribers to the Volvo On Call service in Gothenburg. This is where the Chinese-owned car company is headquartered, so it's the obvious place to start.

Also, you can't do your online shopping just anywhere. Volvo's announcement mentions only two outlets: "Lekmer.com, the leading Nordic online toy and baby goods store, and Mat.se, a Swedish online grocery retailer".

However, Volvo says the service "will be introduced elsewhere in Sweden and to other countries in future. There will also be a wider range of goods available for In-car Delivery as Volvo joins forces with more companies".

According to Bendrik: "Volvo is not interested in technology for the sake of technology. If a technology does not make a customer's life easier, better, safer or more fun, we don't use it."

The deliveryman uses a map on a tablet to find your car
First, find yourn car..... Photo: Volvo Car Group
Probably not everyone likes the idea of "a one-time digital access key", or wants delivery staff to open their cars when they are not there. However, Bendrik told CNBC that "the company was collaborating with insurance companies to make sure the deliveries were covered".

The idea is not unique to Volvo. In fact, Audi started a similar pilot - Audi Connect Easy Delivery - in Munich in May. In this case, DHL Parcel delivered Amazon Prime packages to the luggage compartments of their Audi cars.

According to a BBC report: "On the day delivery is scheduled, the car owner will consent to location tracking during a set delivery window, and a DHL truck will find the car wherever it's parked. The truck driver will have a single-use digital access code that pops the trunk, and the code will expire as soon as the luggage compartment (or the delivery window) closes."

A couple of years earlier, a Belgian company tried the "world's first" commercial service, Cardrops. It worked by fitting a beacon that pinged a delivery vehicle with your GPS co-ordinates if your car hadn't moved for 15 minutes. However, the Cardrops Twitter account hasn't tweeted since December 2012 so it's probably not going to open a branch near you anytime soon.

It's the kind of thing that might take off one day, but I wouldn't bet on where, or when.