The delivery arrives overnight, in the trunk of your smart: The new smart “ready to drop” service by smart and DHL makes the dreams of online shoppers come true. The service’s beta testing phase just kicked off in Stuttgart.
The new smart services herald the next era of urban mobility: As a connected car 2.0, your smart goes way beyond taking you from A to B, doubling as a parcel drop and later becoming part of private carsharing and other services.
To kick off this ecosystem of digital innovations around the car, smart releases smart “ready to drop” – a delivery service for online shopping developed in partnership with DHL. The service turns the car’s trunk into a parcel delivery box – and a pick-up spot for returns.
It’s a deceptively simple idea that will start beta testing in Stuttgart this fall, closely followed by trial runs in Cologne, Berlin, and Bonn.
“smart ‘ready to drop’ heralds our upcoming drive for a more urban quality of life and launches a new chapter in our brand’s history,” explains smart CEO Dr. Annette Winkler. “It helps us stay true to our pioneering role when it comes to urban mobility.”
How does smart ready to drop work?
The principle couldn’t be simpler. All you need is a smartphone – the process itself is like booking a sharing car via car2go. After registering with DHL and your smart dealership, you can start shopping at selected online retailers straight away.
When choosing your preferred payment and delivery options, you enter a one-off TAN, generated by the smart customer app.
Expect a quick and convenient overnight DHL delivery to the smart associated with the entered TAN – and use the smart app to check the status of your delivery, if you like.
The DHL courier uses a special delivery app that allows them to close and relock your vehicle – exactly once to carry out the delivery. Your own app then automatically notifies you of the successful delivery.
Complex, tried-and-tested tech
While the process might appear seamless and simple, it is based on complex and thoroughly tested technology. All data is handled and processed securely by the Daimler backend system, then sent to the vehicle’s connectivity box. The latter is a digital windshield transmitter for remote access, tried-and-tested in over 5.5 million times as part of the car2go service.
The fast and secure service has no problem processing masses of data – it takes just two to three seconds to open a particular car once the request is sent by the smartphone app.
“This windshield box is a real treasure trove,” adds Dr. Annette Winkler. “Beyond the parcel service, it could also let people share their own smart with others, allow pick-ups and returns for refueling and washing, or facilitate many other services.”
The new smart lab think tank
Behind all these appealing service options is the brand new smart lab, an internal think tank inspired by start-up spirit. Its mission: Nothing less than the reinvention of urban mobility. And the connected car 2.0 – as already offered by smart – plays an essential role.
Not as standalone technology, but to put the customer front and center – solving everyday challenges like packages delivered late or dropped off at a neighbor’s.
The first test, a pilot phase featuring 30 participants who received hundreds of deliveries over a period of three months, proved a resounding success. Not least thanks to the perfect partner.
“At DHL, we’ve made excellent progress with deliveries to specific preferred locations and parcel drop-off boxes, without direct contact with the recipient,” states DHL board member Jürgen Gerdes. “The technological framework established by smart is perfect for our deliveries – and the overnight deliveries also cut down on carbon emissions.”
Largest German beta phase for in-car deliveries
The beta phase of smart “ready to drop” starts in September and is Germany’s largest ever in-car delivery test to date. All smart drivers are welcome to apply here.
Participants receive a free connectivity upgrade. All current smart fortwo coupe and smart forfour models as well as the previous combustion engine model (smart 451) are suitable candidates. Or wait for the new special edition smart fortwo, available this fall, which comes pre-equipped with the connectivity set-up.
While we wait, one thing is already certain: smart remains a pioneer when it comes to intelligent solutions for navigating life in the city.
After 2008, when the smart electric drive was the first electric car launched in Germany, and 2009, when smart and car2go revolutionized carsharing, smart is now set to become the ultimate multifunctional tool for today’s urban jungle.