Ten McDonald’s branches in Chicago are currently using artificial intelligence software to automate drive-thru orders, as revealed by CEO Chris Kempczinski in a conference with investors.
Per initial gathered data, the AI can process around 80 percent of orders and fulfill these orders at 85 percent accuracy. The voice-ordering tech comes from Apprente, an AI speech company that the American fast-food company acquired in 2019.
At the rate the AI system is improving, Kempczinski estimates that the tech may be rolled out at a national scale within five years. Challenges involved in a wide rollout include permutations in dialect among Americans, weather patterns, and the variety of promos and menus in every McDonald’s branch.
McDonald’s is also invested in automating other aspects of its restaurants, including the cooking/kitchen equipment. This had led many to speculate that the company may soon replace its human workers with automated systems just so it can cut costs or avoid raising minimum wages.