UPS tests entering locked lobbies to deliver packages in NYC

Drivers are given access via smart locks to deliver parcels to buildings when nobody's home.

After weeks of rumors, Amazon confirmed last October that it was working on a system to deliver packages while people weren't home. In essence, a smart lock would allow workers entry and record them while they deposited parcels. Despite the concept unnerving all but the most optimistic, the company went ahead and started rolling out the concept in April. Apparently, UPS started quietly toying with the same idea earlier this year by starting a pilot program in New York City to deliver packages while users aren't home.

To be clear, UPS' experiment is more conservative than Amazon's: The service's pilot program is limited to high-density multi-family residences (presumably, large apartment buildings) and workers only get access to lobbies or delivery rooms. The pilot has expanded exclusively to units equipped with Latch smart locks, which only open for UPS drivers when a delivery is scheduled. The setup logs non-resident access and each device includes a camera to record when workers enter and exit, creating an auditable timeline.

UPS started the pilot in Manhattan earlier this year and expanded to Brooklyn; Eventually, it may offer the service elsewhere in the US, according to a press release. Time will tell if they follow Amazon's example and start offering smart lock deliveries directly to apartments or, heck, car trunks.