Back in November, I made a post about the YouTube Channel “I did a thing,” run by Australian content creator Alex Apollonov, which is best known for its comedic and wacky experiments. I had personally been a fan of the channel for a while, but what caught my attention more than anything was when he engineered a DJI Mavic 2 to drop steel darts, which has become all but commonplace in conflicts around the world except with the use of explosives.
Well, he has caught my attention again by strapping a gun to a robot dog. In the video, Apollonov says he wants to find a solution to combat mass shootings in the wake of Uvalde and suggested using armed robot dogs instead of police because said dogs would be scared and wait outside classrooms. So to do this, he teamed up with YouTubers William Osman and Brandan Herrera.
The whole process of making an armed dog was quite simple. The dog that was used was a UNITREE GO1, a commercially available model that will run you $2,700. Work began with a gun mount, where they attached a string to the trigger that would be pulled by a servo motor. To aim, they used a GoPro positioned behind the rear sight. The firing system was attached using straps. That’s it. In the video, Apollonov noted that it was terrifying knowing “how easy it was for us idiots with no real experience to make this in a couple of days.”
Utilizing an MP5 and AK-V due to their relatively low recoil, they began test firing against targets. Aiming was done by using the dog’s fine-movement adjustments for its forward facing camera, however, the GoPro feed is what they based their targeting off of. Notable issues were aiming, movement since the dog was top heavy, and recoil management while firing on autonomic.
I just wanted to note that their experiment closely resembles a video I posted back in April, showing what appears to be another UNITREE GO1 with a similar mount and firing mechanism on it. Similar to the issues Apollonov faced, the dog in the video had difficulty with recoil management while on full auto and faced movement issues as it was top heavy.
Dogs like this, however, cannot be compared to armed robot systems making their way down the defense industry pipeline, such as SWORD Defense Systems’ Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle (SPUR) for Ghost Robotics’ Vision-60 quadruped (above), which is chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. The Vision-60 has become somewhat of a canvas for quadruped combat technology and unsurprisingly fairs much better in movement and aiming due to its beefier design fit for combat environments.
Overall, these dogs showcase what can be done by anyone at home. As shown in Apollonov’s video, the whole process required little supplies, little knowhow, and little time. One thing that his channel highlights that homemade combat technology is just that, homemade, meaning anyone can do it.