Hoping to save customers time and simplify service at its dealerships, Ford Motor Company is testing a new automated system for vehicle pickup and delivery. Co-developed  with Panasonic System Communications, this Smart Service Kiosk streamlines the process by permitting customers to stop by a dealership 24/7 to drop off and/or pick up their vehicle, get or return keys to a loaner car, select necessary services from a quick-pick basic menu and then pay for it all using a credit or debit card.

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To access the system, customers enter their name and address using the kiosk’s touchscreen or by scanning the QR code on their driver’s license as well inputting their e-mail address and phone number. At that point, the owners punch in vehicle-specific info, create a security PIN, select from a quick-pick menu that includes most basic routine service items and deposit their key. The kiosk also has the ability to record owner comments and handle recall notices. When service is completed, the owner receives an e-mail confirmation with a QR code that must be scanned to retrieve the key for any vehicle that will be picked up using the automated kiosk.

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The first Smart Service Kiosk has been operational since January at Lafontaine Ford in Birch Run, Michigan. At the end of a 90-day trial, Ford and Pansonic will examine the results and assess the system’s real-world potential as well as determine if any operational changes may be required. “At Ford, our goal always is to make customers’ lives better, through both our products and services,” said Brad Brownell, director, Ford Global Distribution Strategy. “Smart Service Kiosk enables Ford customers to drop off, pick up, select and pay for their vehicle service on their time, whether it’s outside of dealership service hours or to avoid waiting in line if the service staff is busy.”

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