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A vehicle was spotted that looks like an Uber self-driving car, but the company denies it

Barry Chin/Getty Images

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A few months after Uber declared its intention to develop self-driving cars and other advanced driving technology, the first fruits of its efforts have been spotted in the wild. 
A 4-door sedan with a bunch of hardware mounted on the roof was seen cruising the streets of

title="View all articles about Pittsburgh here">Pittsburgh (where Uber’s advanced car technology efforts are based) by the folks at the Pittsburgh Business Times.
The car, which appears to be a Ford Fusion, has the words Uber Advanced Technologies Center emblazoned in big letters on its side. 
Check out a picture of the car here.
According to Uber, though, the vehicle is not technically a self-driving car. 
“This is not a self-driving test car. This vehicle is part of our early research efforts regarding mapping, safety and autonomy systems.”
The hardware on the roof, such as what appears to be a spinning “lidar” laser sensor, looks similar to what’s used by both self-driving cars as well as cars rigged to create high-resolution digital maps. Lidars are used on Google’s self-driving cars and on the cars that map-maker Nokia Here uses.
Self-driving cars are still several years away from being available to the general public, with advances in technology and changes in regulations still required for the vehicles to become a reality. 
Google has been leading the charge, with its podlike self-driving cars due to begin testing on California public roads this summer
Traditional automakers such as General Motors, Nissan and Volvo are all also working to develop self-driving cars.  Even Apple is reportedly exploring the potential of self-driving cars. 
For Uber, the popular ride-hailing service that’s now valued at more than $40 billion, self-driving cars offer the chance to eliminate a major cost: human drivers. 
To create a viable self-driving car though will require huge investments in technology and in important features such as high-definition digital maps


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