Car Industry

China's Geely will deliver car keys via drone to expand social distancing

The Chinese automaker explained how it's protecting car buyers amid the coronavirus pandemic -- and includes drone delivery.

Car delivery without any human contact.

In China, new car buyers may receive their set of car keys to their new vehicle from a drone, rather than a human being -- at least that's a new policy at Geely.

Geely, one of China's major domestic automakers, highlighted the precautions its staff take to keep car buyers protected from the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. While some of the steps are standard (disinfecting new cars, ensuring delivery staff wear proper equipment), one is pretty radical: Drones.

Geely expanded its contactless delivery system with the ability to send new cars to a buyer's home or place of work. The newly expanded system will allow drones to delivery car keys to buyers, and the machines can fly right up to someone's door or balcony. There, a new owner will receive a small pouch with the car key inside without a trace of human contact.

The automaker said it sold 10,000 cars online rather than via a dealership in February. The company turns these orders into leads for dealers, who then manage the order and prepare the car for home delivery. Could something like this process work in the US? Probably not, at least not right now.

Although companies have certainly explored the possibility of drone deliveries, regulations keep low-flying aircraft out of the sky at higher levels. Perhaps one day we'll be able to buy a car without any human contact, but today is not that day.

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