If your local McDonald’s has been getting your order confidently wrong with an AI chatbot at the drive-thru, I have good news for you: The company is ending the program for now. The company told franchisees that it’s winding down an AI drive-thru ordering partnership with IBM “no later than July 26th, 2024,” according to trade publication Restaurant Business.

The company will reportedly remove the tech from the over 100 restaurants it’s been testing the system in after partnering with IBM in 2021. It’s not clear why the company is ending the IBM deal, though. It told Restaurant Business it was testing whether the voice ordering chatbot could speed up service and that the test left it confident “that a voice-ordering solution for drive-thru will be part of our restaurants’ future.”

A potential option could involve the company’s vague announcement of a Google deal in December. Bloomberg reported that the deal was partly for a chatbot named “Ask Pickles” that employees could use for guidance on things like cleaning ice cream machines. Even so, Google partnered with Wendy’s, which started testing drive-thru AI based on its tech last year and has since expanded that trial.

Fast food companies in general are hungry for AI. White Castle has been testing AI provided by speech recognition company SoundHound. And Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, and others use an AI drive-through chatbot that an SEC filing revealed was underpinned by remote human workers in the Philippines most of the time.

Whatever McDonald’s does with drive-thru AI, that’s only part of the story when it comes to its efforts to automate previously human-performed tasks. The company also offers things like mobile ordering and in-store kiosks and has tested drone deliveries, kitchen robots, and weird AI hiring tools.

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