San Francisco

San Jose-Born Robot Keeping Busy During Las Vegas CES

Las Vegas is famous for bright lights and big stars, but among those getting the most attention during CES this week is a robot from the Bay Area.

The robot, made by San Jose-based Savioke and called Relay, is expanding its reach one hotel and one hallway at a time. It never gets tired, and it doesn't sweat the small stuff.

After years of tweaks, Relay was indeed busy on the Las Vegas Strip Wednesday. One was seen in the Renaissance Hotel, making deliveries to guests.

"There's a lot more interesting things you can do with a robot," Savioke Chief Technology Officer Tessa Lau said.

And thanks to new software and new sensors, Relay can now tell a hotel where its Wi-Fi is weak and needs boosting.

"Well, Relay is constantly wandering the halls monitoring the Wi-Fi," Lau said. "It makes perfect sense to also work with the hotel and let them know what conditions are, and if anything goes wrong, he can alert them immediately."

As if better Wi-Fi wasn't enough, Relay is instantly the most popular creature everywhere it goes. People love to see it, and a lot more people are seeing them in a lot more places.

"We're starting to expand, so it's got a pilot in a hospital in San Francisco, and we've been running for a year now in FedEx," Savioke CEO Steve Cousins said. "So lots of uses for robot technology."

The San Francisco hospital testing Relay is UCSF, and the bots also can be seen roaming around several hotels in the Bay Area.

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