Fast food gets faster as Japan trials drive-thru ordering via GPS

Thanks to a partnership of no less than 26 private-sector firms and the government backed Highway Industry Development Organization, drivers in Japan will soon be able to order and pay for their drive-thru McDonald's meals from their car's GPS system.

The goal is to make the drive thru even more efficient, proving an unwritten rule I've stood by for years, that fast food waits for no one.

The process will use Japan's wireless traffic news network — known as the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). The system, which currently provides real time traffic updates and other information, will now serve up menus to ITS compatible GPS devices. Drivers within range of a participating McDonald's will be able to order and pay for the food via their touchscreens — and in case they aren't sure how to find the restaurant, the GPS will direct them on their way.

Eight cars will participate in the test, which will roll out in the Ibaraki Prefecture from March 5 — 16. Plans for a wider roll out have not been released, but given the U.S. doesn't have the same kind of public wireless traffic network (other than emergency alerts) at this time, it's likely we'll still have to wait for our burgers and fries.

Some of the companies involved in the test include Mitsubishi and Panasonic which will manage the ITS and point-of-sales, and Toyota and Pioneer will provide the ITS and car navigation systems.

Nikkei, via Gizmodo

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