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FEATURE ARTICLE
Torc Self-Driving Car Welcomed Home From Cross-Country Trip
August 2017

After driving itself through 20 states on its maiden cross-country road trip, the Torc self-driving car recently gave a test ride to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson as they welcomed it home.

“I want to congratulate Torc on accomplishing this incredible feat,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I am proud to see a home-grown engineering firm develop self-driving technology and introduce it to the rest of the country on a coast-to-coast drive. Entrepreneurial companies like Torc are critical to building the new Virginia economy and creating jobs of the 21st century.”


Virginia Governor McAuliffe greets Torc CEO Michael Fleming.

Torc, headquartered in Blacksburg, Va., began as a spin-off company from Virginia Tech. During the past 10 years, the firm developed a strong reputation for autonomous technology with defense and mining applications. The firm recently unveiled its self-driving car technology.

Soon after, the car and its test team began its round-trip cross-country journey in Washington, D.C., crossing 13 states on its westward drive. They arrived on July 12th in Seattle, Washington, and were greeted by Governor Jay Inslee’s office. Torc was congratulated for being the first company to register in Washington state’s newly created Autonomous Vehicle Pilot Program.

For its eastward trip home, the car took a more southern route and drove autonomously through seven additional states. The trip, with more than 4,300 autonomous miles, officially ended recently just steps away from the Virginia Executive Mansion.


Torc self-driving car arrives at the Executive Mansion in Richmond, VA.

“Torc’s accomplishment is a shining testament to the quality of innovation occurring everyday here in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary Jackson. “Virginia has a wide array of autonomy related assets, that uniquely positions us to support the creation and growth of companies like Torc and to help them achieve their highest potential.”

Torc first established itself as a leader in autonomous vehicles in 2007, when its vehicle placed third in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Urban Challenge. For the past decade, Torc has continuously improved upon its technology—successfully applying it to a variety of commercial ground vehicles, from large mining trucks to military vehicles.

“Driving out to Seattle and back was an important testing milestone,” said Torc CEO Michael Fleming. “And finishing the trip here in Virginia with the Governor and Secretary of Technology is the best homecoming, especially on the 10-year anniversary of the DARPA Urban Challenge,” he said.

“We’re fortunate to be headquartered in an autonomous car-friendly state that supports our mission. It’s allowed us to create a winning team of engineers” said Fleming. “We’ll be announcing more impressive demonstrations, capabilities, and partnerships in the coming year.”
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