Drivers in the US city of Pittsburgh may have seen a strange sight recently on their local roads: a car that looks like it belongs in the riot squad, or driven by a superhero. But this is not the scene from a riot, or a superhero movie — it’s a test car from Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center (ATC) located in Pittsburgh.

The car, a hybrid Ford Fusion, will be collecting mapping data as well as testing its self-driving capabilities. When it’s in self-driving mode, a trained driver will be in the driver’s seat monitoring operations. The Uber ATC car comes outfitted with a variety of sensors including radars, laser scanners, and high resolution cameras to map details of the environment.

“From the first steel mills to the laboratories at Pitt and Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh has a long history of innovation. Now we’re taking another step forward, this time as home to Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center, where some of the world’s leading innovators are helping to shape the future of transportation,” said the Mayor of Pittsburgh, William Peduto. “We’re excited that Uber has chosen the Steel City as they explore new technologies that can improve people’s lives — through increased road safety, less congestion, and more efficient and smarter cities,”

According to Uber, Real-world testing remains critical to the company’s efforts to develop self-driving technology. Self-driving cars have the potential to save millions of lives, and Uber believes their foray into developing self-driving cars could help improve quality of life for people around the world. 1.3 million people die every year in car accidents and 94 per cent of those accidents involve human error.

The company said it believes the technology will mean less congestion, more affordable and accessible transportation, and far fewer lives lost in car accidents.

While Uber is still in the early days of our self-driving efforts, the company said that every day of testing is leading to improvements and that it is focused on getting the technology right and ensuring it’s safe for everyone on the road — pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers.