License plate recognition could be the new big thing at American drive-thrus, according to FT. Chains are now looking to deploy cameras that recognize license plates and help identify customers, personalizing digital menus and speeding up sales.
Starbucks began a pilot program in Korea last year with customers who voluntarily pre-registered their cars and now restaurants in the United States are looking to also give it a try. License plate recognition has existed since the 1970s but has mostly been associated with law enforcement. Cameras attached to police cars or street fixtures read the license plates of passing vehicles and compare results to databases.
But as the cost of the software comes down, uses for LPR have grown. For retailers, LPR can help identify repeat customers, allowing businesses to link a customer’s credit card and order history up to a vehicle.