Amazon launches 'open door' service for parcel deliveries

The Amazon fulfilment centre in Swansea
The Amazon fulfilment centre in Swansea

Amazon is launching a service that will enable couriers to open customers' front doors and leave deliveries inside.

Called Amazon Key, the new system combines an app, home security camera and a smart lock that couriers will be able to unlock via the app once they have scanned the package to confirm its arrival.

Users will receive a notification to their phone when a delivery driver arrives and can choose to watch the drop-off live on their smartphone via the cloud-connected camera.

The online retail giant is launching the service in some parts of the US in November and is selling an Amazon Key starter kit - including a camera and smart lock - for 250 dollars (£188).

The service is currently being advertised only for Amazon's Prime scheme members.

"Amazon Key gives customers peace of mind knowing their orders have been safely delivered to their homes and are waiting for them when they walk through their doors," said Peter Larsen, the firm's head of delivery technology.

"Now, Prime members can select in-home delivery and conveniently see their packages being delivered right from their mobile phones."

The company said that each time a delivery driver requests access to a customer's home, Amazon will verify that the correct driver is at the right address, at the correct time and with the correct package using an encrypted system.

The technology giant confirmed that the Key system will also be compatible with other services, such as cleaners and dog walkers, with home owners able to grant them access when not at home.

The Seattle-based firm has trialled a range of alternative methods of delivering parcels to customers, including running a test of drone delivery - known as Prime Air - in Cambridgeshire.