CSIRO's Bobcat is a S185 skid-steerer, complete with lift arms. This heavy duty outdoor robot enables CSIRO robots to interact with an environment, rather than just move through it. In order to do this, they have equipped the bobcat with a variety of sensors, including two horizontal lasers, a spinning laser, camera, two IMUs, GPS, wheel encoders, and more. They also plan on integrating stereo, Velodyne, multi-modal radar, hyper spectral, and other sensors.
CSIRO's current focus with the bobcat is shared and cooperative autonomy. With shared autonomy, a human tele-operator can intervene and provide corrections as the bobcat performs a task. With cooperative autonomy, the bobcat can leverage robots with other capabilities. This sort of coordination could enable a fleet of bobcats to autonomously excavate an area.
CSIRO is in the process of migrating the Bobcat to ROS. The Bobcat was originally developed using DDX (Dynamic Data eXchange). DDX is a third generation middleware developed by CSIRO and provides features, like shared memory data exchange, that are complementary to ROS. They will continue using DDX for low-level realtime control, but sensor drivers and higher level code are being migrated to ROS. They are also investigating adding DDX-like transports to ROS.