During my recent visit in NYC I spotted twice this vehicle. It had cameras and a lidar mounted on the roof, with a banner stating “NYC Media – Official Data Collection Vehicle.”
This seems to be a joint project of the NYC and the Dutch company CycloMedia. According to the company website, the services it offers are as follows:
CycloMedia provides a cloud-based solution for street level imagery with GIS accuracy, employing the world’s most advanced five camera panoramic image capture system. This imagery enables you to work more efficiently as you can inspect the public space remotely.
This article has also been published in German.