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Midterm Elections in U.S.; Robot Security Guard Strolling Offices

Aired November 5, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Tuesday, November 4, was a big night in American politics. Welcome to CNN STUDENT NEWS where we are leading off with

reports surrounding the U.S. midterm elections.

They are called midterms because they happen in the middle of a president`s four year term. They determine state governors, they determine state and

local laws and lawmakers. And they shape the legislative branch of the U.S. Congress.

As Americans from Maine to Alaska head into the voting boots, at stake were all 435 voting seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Its members

serve two year terms. At stake were 36 seats out of 100 in the U.S. Senate. Its members serve six year terms. What were analysts were

watching as we went into the vote?


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are three key things we are watching in this midterm and the first is the U.S. Senate. The Democrats have been

in charge here. We are showing them in blue, along with two Independents in purple, but the Republicans are expected to gain seats here. The

Democrats are expected to lose some and control of this chamber will likely come down to nine or ten very close races and the Democrats must hold on to

at least two thirds of those if they expect to maintain control of this chamber.

Meanwhile, secondly we are watching the other side of the Capitol in the House of Representatives. The Democrats have been on the losing side

there, the Republicans on the winning side. That equation is not expected to change.

The question is will Republicans pick up more seats or lose some seats in the process, and if so, how?

If you see more Tea Party presence, that can signal some divisions within the Republican Party that the Democrats might exploit from their minority

position, and the third thing we are watching, the White House reaction to all of this.

If the president`s party loses both chambers and he reacts badly to it, that`s an easy signal for Republicans to say we are going to do nothing

with this lame duck president. On the other hand, if he reaches out too much with an olive branch to the Republicans that could dispirit his own

party. And that could be bad for Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat who wants to be the nominee for the 2016 presidential race.


AZUZ: We know the answer to two of those questions: last night CNN projected that the House of Representatives would stay in Republican

control. This means Republicans won back more than the 218 seats needed to keep their majority in the House.

They also won enough seats to take control of the U.S. Senate. Before the vote, Democrats had 53 seats, Republicans had 45. Independents had two.

Republicans needed to gain six seats to have a 51 seat majority in the Senate. CNN projected they`ve gained at least that many. We say at least

because some races hadn`t been determined by the time we produced this program.

Teachers, please go to to get the latest numbers and projections.

Now, about these projections. CNN projects. It means we expected certain candidates to win certain races. But where do we get our numbers and how

do we analyze them?


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We`ve got a really major projection to make right now.

MARK PRESTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On election night, you are going to find out the winners and losers by going here - here - here - here. And here.

But this is where it all begins, when you walk out of the voting booth, you might be approached by somebody with a clipboard, a couple of sheets of

paper asking you some questions. This is called the exit poll. Once that data is corrected all across the country, it comes back to here, to our

exit poll team. Five people dedicated to taking all this data from across the country, crunching it, looking at it and trying to figure out what

makes the most sense to explain to you how the election night is unfolding.

OK, so we`ve talked about exit polls. And now what we are over at the decision desk. This is where a dozen members from across the country,

these are journalists, and these are statistician professional mathematicians who sit here and they are working on ten different models at

any given time to try to figure out how to call the race. You can look at the exit poll data and call the race just off of that.

The raw vote is your vote, that`s the vote that we start to see that comes in from the individual states, the individual counties.

By the way, we can do it as we can just call the race on the raw vote. We don`t even use the exit polls because at some time throughout the raw vote

becomes more dominant and more important. And then ultimately, we may never call the race, because it has become so close you are talking about

potentially recounts, and look at how many races are going to be so competitive this year, who knows what`s going to happen?


AZUZ: Even though it wasn`t a presidential election, it seemed appropriate to have a Washingtonian-themed roll call.

Bonney Lake High School is in Washington. At Bonney Lake, we`ve got the Panthers on the roll.

In Laredo, Texas, it`s Washington Middle School. Hello to all the Bobcats watching the day.

And in Cherokee, Iowa, we found Washington High School. You all know I`m a big braze (ph) fan.

Strictly defined, the robot is any machine that can complete tasks on command. They are using everything from manufacturing to the military,

from searching for bombs to vacuuming the floor. A fully functional C-3PO is probably a ways-off, but a robot security guard isn`t.

It`s not Robocop, it can`t personally fight crime, but it can alert those who do to where it`s happening.


NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When we think of security, we think of CCTV cameras, banks of monitors and the solitary guard.

Well, that security guard is about to get some help from a roaming pair of eyes.

His name is Bob.

DR. NICK HAWES, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Bob is an autonomous security robot that can run for a long time and learn about the world as he runs.

GLASS: Dr. Nick Hawes, an academic of the University of Birmingham in the U.K., is working towards that future. He`s made a career out of developing

artificial intelligence.

HAWES: It`s developing software and - so instructions to computers that can - can solve hard problems. And that always fascinated me. I didn`t

really believe it existed when I first heard about .

GLASS: Dr. Hawes`s initial work in IR was in videogames, making the characters more live-like. But he saw a new film, "the merging" where his

expertise could be applied, and so Bob was born off the shelf hardware combined with state of the art software.

HAWES: In the - here we go - a laser, that`s his main navigation sensor. You can measure 30 meters around him, 15 times a second. We got that

camera, so that gives you a 3d image in front of the road ball. We use it for obstacle avoidance.

A second debt (ph) camera on the head that we use to look at people, look at the tops of desks, look at objects. He`s got his eyes, his head. No

sense (INAUDIBLE), no cameras, just so it can, you know, be interpreted by humans, or human can feel comfortable with this robot ..

GLASS: And we are better to try Bob as a security guard in the offices of the world`s largest security company, G4S.

On patrol, Bob had to detect whether doors were open or closed, lay (ph) on the layout of the offices and scan for things that might look a little out

of the ordinary.

Then, he`d report back to his human colleague.

HAWES: The big moment for me was when we left him overnight for the first time. It was almost like sending your kids after school for the first

time. You had to kind of trust that he would be OK, and coming back the next day and say that he had carried on operating on his own overnight,

with no human input. That was - that was the big exciting moment for me.

GLASS: The trial is part of a $16 million European project to develop robots that can assist us, humans in our daily lives. Although Bob is

complex, we are still a long way from the future predicted in science fiction movies.

But for Dr. Hawes, a world where human and machine work side by side, isn`t so farfetched.


AZUZ: Teeing off with a couple of golf stories before we go. If you think that drivers never have quite enough reach, maybe you should reach for

this: The Guinness world record for longest usable driver, though usable is debatable.

It measures 20 feet six inches and the drive on this shot was 63 yards. So, if you`re driven to have a record, sure. If you`re driven to drive,


But if you are looking for something more useful and dangerous, and you think golf just takes too long - the record fastest golf card ever. Quart

a mile, just over 12 seconds. Top speed, 118 miles per hour. Potential, not much. It`s not really street or golf course legal. But it`s faster

than the swing of top pros. And of golf course, it can make those with slower carts, greens with envy. Could it be the path to a faster game? It

really depends on how many people join the club, who want to take a swing at something different, who don`t mind a grassroots project and whose will

to speed is made of irons. CNN STUDENT NEWS. We`ll be back on Thursday.