A few years ago self-driving cars were just a daydream, but they’re now being tested on the nation’s roadways. Google, together with the help of individuals from Carnegie Mellon and teams from Stanford, have done great things to propel the industry of self-driving cars forward. Now, many companies have stepped into the lime light and ventured into the autonomous car industry.
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.
One specific company is Torc Robotics. The Blacksburg, Virginia based-corporation develops driverless car and unmanned ground vehicle robotic technologies.
Michael Fleming, the CEO of Torc Robotics, has recently announced that their self-driving car just completed a cross-country road trip. This project was deemed a success and critical to the continuous innovation of driverless technology.
Using the autonomous Lexus SUV model, the vehicle drove more than 4,300 miles through 20 states. Its expedition began on July 7th in Washington D.C. and finished in Richmond, Virginia.
According to Fleming, “We are passionate about autonomous technology and are convinced it will help make our world safer and more sustainable. We’ve been working on our technology for more than 10 years and we are thrilled that the auto industry is finally ready for self-driving cars. Torc can provide the engineering expertise and proven technology to make self-driving cars a reality.”
Three certified safety drivers and an engineer of Torc Robotics were involved in the trip. Additionally, it was reported that someone was always sitting behind the wheel in case of an emergency.
During the cross country road expedition, Terry McAuliffe, the Governor of Virginia, and Karen Jackson, the Secretary of Technology, got the chance to experience riding in the autonomous car.
McAuliffe said “I want to congratulate Torc on accomplishing this incredible feat. 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.”
Ultimately, the aim of Torc Robotics is to test the Lexus SUV in different weather conditions and during different roadway situations.
Evolution of Torc Robotics
Torc Robotics made its mark, within the industry of self-driving vehicles, when its car was one of three winners of the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge.
The DARPA Urban Challenge is a prized competition for autonomous vehicles in America that is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
After winning, Torc retained its talent and was able to grow impressively in size and continue enhancing their innovative technology. The premier voyage of Torc Robotics was when it made the 1,000-mile round trip from Virginia HQ to Ford’s Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit.
Torc Robotics was also the very first corporation to be involved in Washington’s newly made Autonomous Vehicle Pilot Program. Signed by Jay Inslee, the Governor of Washington, the executive order is a permit that will allow companies to test their self-driving cars within the state.
The industry of autonomous vehicles will continue to improve its technology, and Torc Robotics is at the forefront. The company is excited with their fast progress, sustained success, and the possibility for greater innovations to come.