- Alexei Oreskovic
- We saw a strange self-driving car on the streets of San Francisco, with no logo to identify which self-driving car company it belongs to.
- It’s a Subaru Impreza – but Subaru says it’s not one of theirs.
Business Insider was lucky enough to catch one such mystery robo-car this week in the city’s Bernal Heights neighborhood.
The car drove by in the opposite direction, and your correspondent quickly flipped an ill-advised U-Turn to give chase (much to the consternation of several panicked passengers). Before long, we’d gained ground on our prey and managed to get on its tail to capture a few images.
The customized Subaru Impreza sported a curiously oversized mechanical antler on its roof, with a triple stack of Lidars (the spinning laser sensors that help the car map and navigate its environment in real time) and numerous other markings.
Here’s a closer look:
- Alexei Oreskovic
Subaru is among the 55 companies with permits to test self-driving cars on California streets. But a Subaru of America spokesperson tells Business Insider this is not one of theirs.
“The Impreza in the image does not belong to Subaru of America, Inc. so we do not have any information on it or the mechanism mounted on the roof,” the Subaru spokesperson said after inspecting the photo.
The white decal on the rear window may hold a clue, though we have been unable to decipher it. It’s also worth noting that the lidar stack could be for mapping purposes only, rather than to provide autonomous capabilities to this Subaru.
One thing is for sure, the triple lidar vertical “mechanism” seems somewhat impractical, especially in situations where the car might need to navigate in a space with low overhead clearance, such as a parking garage.
Do you know anything about this self-driving car? If so, contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.