Dash the Robot creates buzz at Milpitas' Crowne Plaza hotel

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ByJonathan Bloom KGO logo
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Dash the Robot creates buzz at Milpitas hotel
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Crowne Plaza in Milpitas has unveiled its newest staff member -- a robot named Dash.

MILPITAS, Calif. (KGO) -- The newest staff member at a South Bay hotel is so hard-working he never sleeps and doesn't ask for tips. This hotel helper is creating a lot of buzz and a few beeps as well. He might take you by surprise. And without a doubt, you'll have questions.

"Can it respond if you talk?" asked one hotel guest. While another added, "Where does it hold things?"

More importantly, what is it?

"It's Dash the Robot," said Crowne Plaza Sales Director David Wang. "It's a friendly robot that can take items to your room."

You see, the front desk at the Crowne Plaza in Milpitas gets requests for all sorts of things from toothbrushes to toothpaste to towels.

Someone has to stop what they're doing to bring it upstairs. Unless that someone is a robot.

Now, Dash comes from a famous family. Savioke CEO Steve Cousins says his parents and grandparents are the big PR2 robots used in research and occasionally viral videos.

"But what the PR2 can't do is carry French fries to your room without somebody in the elevator taking them, right?" he said. "This one with its locking bin actually can do that."

Dash doesn't have hands and doesn't need them to call the elevator.

"The robot can talk to it using robot telepathy, which is also called WiFi," Cousins said.

Dash is built to be approachable and friendly. In fact, if you notice a resemblance to one of the most famous robots ever, that's not an accident.

"You know we did take a lot of inspiration from R2D2," said Cousins. "Both in the size of it, which somehow George Lucas really got the size right, and also in kind of the friendly noises."

Dash is built for safety -- scanning the ground for obstacles -- and dodging them to get to your room.

A phone call tells you the robot has arrived. But Dash won't open is door until you open yours.

After you grab that toothbrush, Cousins says, "It hangs out for another seven to eight seconds before it leaves, and that's selfie time."