Information technology giant IBM announced its plans to acquire fast-food chain McDonald’s McD Tech Lab to develop new technologies to automate drive-thru lanes. The information was revealed through a joint statement issued by IBM.
This strategic partnership aims to develop artificial intelligence technologies to revolutionize the fast-food industry. In 2019, McDonald’s acquired voice tech firm Apprente to conduct research in artificial intelligence to develop in-house AI technologies to support the fast-food chain’s operations.
This new development will help McDonald’s provide a better ordering experience to customers and its employees using AI-powered solutions. McD Tech Lab will develop Automated Order Taking (AOT) technology that would reduce the human involvement in the order processing division and also speed up order delivery time.
CEO of McDonald’s, Chris Kempczinski, said, “In my mind, IBM is the ideal partner for McDonald’s given their expertise in building AI-powered customer care solutions and voice recognition.”
IBM’s expertise in developing natural language processing and artificial intelligence-powered customer service solutions will play a vital role in developing and refining the new Automated Order Taking system.
Earlier this year, McDonald’s had tested their AOT technology in a few selected restaurants in Chicago. The testing revealed that the technology considerably helped customers while ordering their food, according to the company officials. The testing showed the AOT system to have an accuracy rate of over 80%.
“At some point technology reaches a level of development where I think getting it to a partner who can then blow it out and scale it globally makes more sense,” said Kempczinski while talking about the partnership with IBM. The final deal is expected to close by December 2021, after which, McD Tech Lab team will join IBM Cloud & Cognitive Software division.