Starbucks are trialling a new virtual assistant that will enable you to place orders with your voice. Although the technology is only in the testing stages at the moment, this has an interesting application for drivers.
The Starbucks virtual assistant – called My Starbucks barista – will be an extension of the Mobile Order & Pay system that allows you to place your order and pay before you arrive. This currently allows you to place your order, get to the store and pick it up, meaning you’re only in the store for around one minute.
At the moment, with the appearance of more and more drive-through Starbucks stores, drivers are starting to grab a quick coffee as they’re passing, with one major flaw. It’s actually not that quick. After you’ve placed your order with the barista, waited in a queue to drive around to the window, paid (no contactless payments at our local Starbucks drive-through – whelp!), and the time it takes for them to make your drink… it’s close to five minutes. It’s sometimes quicker to park up, place your order inside, and take it to-go.
Recently, we wrote a post about Amazon Alexa Automotive – a new branch of the Amazon’s voice recognition software team – that is trying to get the technology in to future vehicles. Volkswagen have already announced that they’ll be implementing the system in to their future infotainment systems. Examples given were that you could send satnav directions to your car before you get in (using an Amazon Echo device in the home), or ask your car to turn the heating up before you arrive home (if you have an internet-connected thermostat like the Nest).
With Starbucks planning on integrating their virtual assistant in to the Amazon Alexa framework, it won’t be long before we have cars where we can order a coffee while driving, arrive at the store with it ready to go, and we drive off in mere moments.
The Starbucks Virtual Assistant is currently being trialled by 1,000 US coffee lovers, but will be expanding soon. It’s unclear whether this feature will come to the UK immediately, or whether we’ll be left in a queue waiting for our hot beverages for the foreseeable future.