McDonald’s is to replace human servers with voice-based technology in its US drive-throughs.
The fast-food chain hopes the AI technology will make the ordering process more efficient. McDonald’s is implementing the technology with the help of start-up Apprente, which it acquired this week.
The move comes amid concern about workers whose jobs may become obsolete as a result of automation and new technologies. Up to 20 million jobs in the manufacturing industry alone could be replaced by robots by 2030, according to analysts Oxford Economics. McDonald’s plans to expand its newly formed McD Tech team by hiring more engineers and data scientists. In March, it invested in technology that could automatically alter individual drive-through menu panels, depending on factors such as the weather, for example automatically suggesting McFlurry ice cream on hot days or telling customers which items were already proving popular at that particular restaurant that day.