McDonald’s plans to get AI voice expertise for quicker drive-thru

Fast food is about to get even quicker. McDonald announced that it is  buying the voice tech startup Apprente so it could actually automate its drive-thru menu. The Mountain View-based firm focuses on building voice-based agents that can take orders in multiple languages and accents. The fast food giant has been testing Apprente’s technology in a number of areas and expects it will allow for “sooner, less complicated and more accurate order taking” at its drive-thrus.

Apprente will form a pivotal part of McD Tech Labs, a brand new restaurant technology group based in Silicon Valley. The Apprente group will become the group’s founding members and co-founder Itamar Arel will serve as vice-president. “McDonald’s commitment to innovation has long inspired our crew. It was fairly clear from our varied engagements that McDonald’s is leading the trade with technology” stated Itamar Arel, Ph.D., co-founder of Apprente and Vice President of McD Tech Labs. “Apprente was borne out of an opportunity to use expertise to resolve challenging real world issues and we’re thrilled to now apply this to creating customized experiences for customers and crew.” The corporate is planning on hiring more engineers, data scientists and different superior technological experts to construct its presence in Silicon Valley.

The fast food giant say there’s potential to develop Apprente’s technology into different areas, like cell and kiosk ordering. But whereas the brand new technology could make life simpler for customers,but  it may come at the cost of human jobs.  McDonald’s self-service kiosks will probably be carried out throughout all US restaurant locations by 2020, which may scale back the need to hire as many human cashiers.

The food chain’s acquisition of Apprente is its third tech deal this year. In April it acquired Dynamic Yield , a personalized data startup, as a way to customise its drive-thru menus by the weather, time of day, current restaurant visitors and trending menu items. It additionally bought a minority stake in Plexure  a New Zealand-based mobile app technology company.


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