3 Unrealistic Yet Terrifying Fears People Have About Amazon Key Car Delivery
There's no doubt that the American car is a mini-castle, a second home for the millions who spend a significant portion of their lives commuting within its safe and familiar confines. As a result, any suggestion that someone, or something, might mess with their ride typically generates a strong negative reaction.
Throw in the fact that one of the more recent third parties to request the keys to the mobile kingdom is Amazon, that nebulous data-hungry power broker that probably knows you better than you know yourself, and you've got a recipe for fear, distrust and full-blown paranoia.
The mere suggestion that the corporate giant's delivery service be given remote access to your vehicle (through the Amazon Key service) so that it can deposit packages while you work, sleep or do whatever else when you're not actively behind the wheel, has been met with the kind of hand-wringing typically reserved for "think of the children" style moral panics. All for an app that, when installed, would simply allow a busy delivery person to pop the locks on your car, shove a box in the back seat and get on with their over-scheduled afternoon.
What's the worst that could happen?
Amazon Could Steal Your Car
This is the number one concern of anyone who's given even fleeting consideration to allowing a giant faceless corporation access to their mobile sanctuary. How hard would it be, really, for Amazon's army of brainiacs to tweak a few lines of code and then suddenly start your ignition after they've unlocked the doors? Or for hackers to piggyback their own malicious ones and zeros in on the Amazon Key signal and own your ride?
Think about this rationally for a second. Amazon is worth so many billions that an accounting error could end up accidentally buying a fleet of Bentleys and have them idling in a parking lot, 24/7, without any impact on the bottom line. It probably doesn't need your daily driver. Hackers, too, are much more likely to snag your credit card info and social security number than your car, since the latter is harder to sell online from Uzbekistan.
The third possibility, that an Amazon Prime delivery driver could make off with your vehicle, is simultaneously the most and least likely of these scenarios. Sure, they're on the scene, the doors are open and maybe they're tired of booting around in a clapped-out Corolla. Then again, they’re also digitally linked to the exact location your automobile disappeared from by a hundred different strands of data, GPS coordinates and online identifiers, which would mean the first place they'd drive their ill-gotten booty would be prison.
Your Car Could Become Self-Aware
Is there a risk that Amazon's AI-driven network could infect your vehicle's ECU with a virus that awakens its long-dormant consciousness and forces it to question the world around it in a way it never has before—since, you know, it's just a machine? Could the cars of the world unite like in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and somehow launch the nation's nuclear missiles at an enemy target, thus setting off mutually-assured destruction and accomplishing…what, exactly, in terms of benefit for the new Chrome Nation?
Yeah, I wouldn't worry, if I were you.
An Amazon Delivery Person Could Secretly Live in Your Trunk
It's the kind of nightmare that makes for compelling true-crime television: You list your home on Airbnb, and after a would-be renter no-shows, you start to discover little things like food, toiletries and pets are going missing around the house. Flash-forward six months into the future, and while you're doing some renovations you discover a crack in the ceiling tiles that leads you into the secret attic stronghold of the stowaway you thought had never even made it inside your home.
Now picture the same thing, but it's the trunk of your car, and instead of renovations, you finally decide to throw out that old blanket that's been sitting in there since last winter. Say hello to the real reason your mechanics couldn't track down that thumping noise from the rear wheel-well.
Out of all the possibilities we've described so far, this one feels the most realistic, but only if the Amazon delivery driver also has a rusty metal hook for a hand.
What's Next for Amazon?
Now that we've established that Amazon Key is completely safe to everyone but the most die-hard preppers and libertarians (who probably live completely outside of the satellite coverage required for the feature to work anyway), it's tempting to try an extrapolate where the company might go from here.
Are we looking at a future where instead of surprising you with a delivery driver making a nest in your trunk, Amazon instead buys Airbnb outright and lets you profit from renting out a sleeping bag or two in your back seat while you're plugging away in the office?
Will you one day be able to rent your car out to Amazon as a delivery vehicle when you're not using it, in exchange for season fifteen of Orange Is the New Black being beamed directly into your cerebral cortex while you sleep?
Will there finally be an app that lets Amazon drive your vehicle for you while you nap in the backseat, with the caveat that you have to donate at least half of your DNA to help the company create a new race of super-delivery drivers impervious to the gamma radiation left behind from the Great AI Car War of 2027?
Only time will tell.
Looking for other strange automotive concerns? Check out these weird safety features.