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McDonald’s has announced that they will officially stop a pilot program testing an artificial intelligence ordering assistant in its drive-thrus.

For roughly two years, this program, which was being developed with IBM, sought to allow customers to place their orders with an AI system that could listen to them. In viral videos posted online, the AI “assistant” could

In a statement, a company executive said, “While there have been successes to date, we feel there is an opportunity to explore voice ordering solutions more broadly. IBM has given us confidence that a voice ordering solution for drive-thru will be part of our restaurant’s future, and we want to sincerely thank IBM and the restaurant teams that have been part of this crucial test. As we move forward, our work with IBM has given us the confidence that a voice ordering solution for drive-thru will be part of our restaurants’ future, We see tremendous opportunity in advancing our restaurant technology and will continue to evaluate long-term, scalable solutions that will help us make an informed decision on a future voice ordering solution by the end of the year.”

Despite ending the program, IBM said “This technology is proven to have some of the most comprehensive capabilities in the industry, fast and accurate in some of the most demanding conditions. While McDonald’s is reevaluating and refining its plans for AOT, we look forward to continuing to work with them on a variety of other projects.”

The initial aim of this project was to reduce labor costs while ensuring speedy and accurate service. McDonald’s is not the only chain experimenting with AI for ordering; Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Carl’s Jr., and Dunkin Donuts are also experimenting with similar automated systems.


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