We just saw one of the weirdest self driving cars yet in San Francisco, and no one knows who it belongs to


Self driving carAlexei 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.

Self driving cars are all over the streets of San Francisco these days, with prototypes from GM’s Cruise project and various other companies regularly spotted.

But sightings of more exotic specimens, such as the matte black Zoox car or the ever-elusive Apple car, are also possible for the alert car-spotter.

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:

Self Driving carAlexei 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.

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 aoreskovic@businessinsider.com.



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