Torc Robotics expanding, creating 350 jobs in Montgomery County
Blacksburg-based company plans to invest $8.5 million
Torc Robotics plans to invest $8.5 million and create 350 jobs in Montgomery County, not far from its current operation in the Blacksburg Industrial Park, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday.
The company produces self-driving vehicles and was started in 2005 by a group of Virginia Tech students who were on a robotics team together. In 2019, Torc was acquired by Daimler Trucks, a division of Daimler Group, to commercialize automated trucks. The terms of the purchase were not disclosed, and Torc remains a separate entity.
The company currently employs 175 people, and the expansion to the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center will allow Torc to grow its software development operations, which will be focused on its project with Daimler Trucks.
“Trucking is the backbone of the U.S. economy, delivering food and products to every community,” Torc CEO Michael Fleming said in a statement. “We greatly appreciate Virginia’s support of our mission to save lives and our innovative partnership with Daimler — the inventor of the truck — to commercialize self-driving trucks and make our roads safer. Commercializing self-driving trucks is a marathon, not a sprint, and requires a long-term commitment from companies, investors and employees. Virginia policy enables us to test our vehicles on public roads, which is critical to bringing this technology to market.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Montgomery County and Onward New River Valley to secure the project for Virginia, which was competing with North Carolina and Texas, according to the governor’s office. Northam approved $3.5 million from the Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant, a self-funded program of performance-based incentives for projects that would pay large groups of employees high wages, and a $800,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund.
VEDP’s Virginia Talent Accelerator Program will assist in training new employees at no cost to the company. Torc Robotics is a 2013 graduate of the Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program, a two-year global export acceleration program run by VEDP.
“This region’s talented workforce can help forward-looking tech companies grow, and Torc Robotics is demonstrating that by creating 350 new jobs in Montgomery County,” Northam said in a statement. “Self-driving technology is a booming sector, and Torc has been at the forefront of the industry since its founding.”