Torc Robotics Expansion Among Virginia’s Top 10 Projects in 2020

Torc Robotics Expansion Among Virginia’s Top 10 Projects in 2020

Montgomery County, VAArea Development magazine recognized the recent Torc Robotics expansion as one of Virginia’s top 10 economic development projects in 2020. Torc came in ninth on the list, with 350 jobs and $8.5 million in investment.

Torc’s expansion project in Blacksburg helped Virginia win Area Development’s 2021 Silver Shovel Award for states with a population of 8+ to 12 million. The “annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize states for their achievements that will create a significant number of new jobs in the communities.”

Here’s what Area Development had to say about the Torc Robotics expansion:

“Virginia’s job activity was diverse… including 350 jobs in self-driving vehicle software development at a TORC Robotics expansion in Montgomery County.”

Learn more about the Gold & Silver Shovel Awards and see Area Development’s list of the top ten economic development projects in Virginia here.

Read about the Torc Robotics expansion here.

Learn more about unmanned systems in Virginia’s New River Valley here.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small-town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

Wing Makes National News

Wing Makes National News for Innovative Deliveries

Photo courtesy of Wing

Montgomery County, VA – Want Girl Scout cookies or hot coffee delivered to your door by drone? Wing’s got you covered! The company made national news several times in recent weeks for their innovative deliveries. Wing has been delivering to Christiansburg customers by drone since they completed the first U.S. commercial drone delivery in 2019, but they recently expanded their offerings.

In April, Wing began a partnership with Virginia Skyline Troop 224 to deliver Girl Scout cookies to customers by drone. They will be offering cookie delivery through May 31st. According to the Associated Press, “Wing said it began talking to local Girl Scout troops because they’ve been having a harder time selling cookies during the pandemic, when fewer people are out and about.”



More recently, NBC Nightly News’s Jacob Ward visited Christiansburg and received the first hot coffee delivered drone in U.S. history. The coffee came from local coffee roaster Brugh Coffee, who has been working with Wing to deliver cans of cold brew coffee since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. Hot coffee is a new addition to Wing’s drone delivery menu in Christiansburg.



Christiansburg is the only place in the United States where commercial drone deliveries are available. Residents who live within Wing’s delivery area can order a wide variety of things including Girl Scout cookies, hot and cold coffee, library books, baked goods, chocolates, Mexican food, and pharmacy items.

Virginia’s New River Valley is a hub for the unmanned systems industry. Learn more about the NRV unmanned systems industry here.

Learn more about Christiansburg, a town in Virginia’s New River Valley, here.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small-town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

VT Drone Park Helps Students Earn Remote Pilot Certificates

VT Drone Park Helps Students Earn Remote Pilot Certificates

Montgomery County, VA – The Virginia Tech Drone Park is helping students obtain their FAA Remote Pilot Certificates through a new grant program. This certificate is also known as a Part 107 license, and it is required to fly drones on Virginia Tech’s campus.

A recent article from Virginia Tech Daily explains how Drone Park Manager Sarah Macey started a grant program to defray the costs of the exam fee for students. In the Spring 2021 semester, grants will be awarded to up to 15 undergraduates. According to Macey, “One of my goals at the drone park is to look for new ways to support students here, both through opportunities that can build their resume and help them in the future, like getting their Part 107.”

The Drone Park is a resource for students to advance their learning about drones and the unmanned systems field. According to Stephen Duma, the Harry Wyatt Professor of Engineering and the Director of Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, “the drone park is a conduit for students to… develop skills they can apply in their own careers. This program is another way we can help create opportunities for the students who are going to shape the evolution of this technology.”

Read the entire article about how the Drone Park Grants will help Virginia Tech students prepare for careers in unmanned systems here.

Learn more about the unmanned systems industry in Virginia’s New River Valley here.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small-town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

NRV Companies Support Mars Rover Mission

NRV Companies Support Mars Rover Mission

Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

New River Valley, VA – Four companies in Virginia’s New River Valley supported NASA’s recent Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover mission by manufacturing components used in various stages of the mission. The mission launched on July 30, 2020 and landed on Mars on February 18, 2021. It will spend at least one Mars year, which is 687 Earth days, “search[ing] for signs of ancient microbial life, which will explore the past habitability of Mars.”

Learn more about the specific components from each NRV company that helped with the mission:

Learn more about the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover mission.

Learn more about advanced manufacturing and unmanned systems in Virginia’s New River Valley.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small-town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

2020 NRV Announcements Highlighted in Virginia Business

2020 NRV Announcements Highlighted in Virginia Business

New River Valley, VA – Three major 2020 NRV business announcements were recently highlighted in Virginia Business magazine. The article, titled “A Diversified Portfolio”, describes the announcements and their impact on the region. The article also discussed the state of the manufacturing and tech sectors in Virginia’s New River Valley during the COVID-19 pandemic using data from Onward New River Valley’s recent Industry Competitiveness Surveys.

Learn more about three 2020 NRV business announcements included in the article below:

Read the full article from Virginia Business here.

See more business announcements from Virginia’s New River Valley here.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small-town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

NRV Autonomous Vehicle Industry Featured in Virginia Economic Review

NRV Autonomous Vehicle Industry Featured in Virginia Economic Review

Montgomery County, VA – The Virginia Economic Review recently featured an article titled, “Autonomous Vehicle Companies Build Foundation of Trust,” which highlighted two members of the NRV autonomous vehicle industry. The article shared how Torc Robotics and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) are both working to research, test, and advance the field of self-driving technology.

The article also highlighted the business advantages that the New River Valley has to offer to companies in the autonomous vehicle industry. As the article states,

“The New River Valley provides Torc [Robotics] with an ideal location to operate, [CEO Michael] Fleming believes, with a pool of talent willing to work hard, proximity to a major university, and a low cost of living, especially when compared to the Northeast or California’s Silicon Valley.”

Read the full article about the advances that Torc Robotics and VTTI are making to autonomous vehicles here.

Learn more about unmanned systems industry in Virginia’s New River Valley here.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small-town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

VTTI Expands Virginia Smart Roads with Rural Test Track

VTTI Expands Virginia Smart Roads with Rural Test Track

Montgomery County, VA – Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) announced in November that they will expand the Virginia Smart Roads with a rural test track. This test track is “the first research facility created to test automated driving systems and other next-generation technologies in a rural setting.”

The 2.5 mile-long Rural Roadway features many common characteristics of rural roadways including unpaved sections, steep hills, and winding curves. The test track will allow researchers to test the safety of automated vehicles driving in these difficult conditions.

According to VTTI, adding the rural test track means that “the Virginia Smart Roads can now accommodate testing capabilities on every road type (highway, urban/suburban, and rural) in the country.”

Read more about the VTTI Rural Roadway Expansion here.

Learn more about the unmanned systems industry in Virginia’s New River Valley here.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small-town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

Wing and MAAP Partnership

Wing and MAAP Partnership Highlighted in Virginia Economic Review

Montgomery County, VA – The partnership between Wing and the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) at Virginia Tech was highlighted in the Q3 2020 issue of the Virginia Economic Review. The article, titled “A Welcoming Atmosphere”, focuses on the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) research taking place in Virginia’s New River Valley and the “years of work that Wing and… MAAP have put into making drone delivery trials possible.”

In October 2019, Wing was able to successfully complete the first commercial drone delivery in the US. According to the article, Wing chose Christiansburg to be their first UAV delivery site in the US because,

“Christiansburg proved to be a good environment for drone tests because of both its proximity to MAAP and Virginia Tech and its “urban light” environment. The town offers some of the characteristics of urban areas without the challenges that more crowded cities present.”

Read the full article about the partnership between Wing and MAAP here.

Learn more about Wing, MAAP, and the unmanned systems industry in Virginia’s New River Valley here.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small-town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

Aeroprobe Featured in Virginia Economic Review

Aeroprobe Featured in Virginia Economic Review

Montgomery County, VA – Aeroprobe was recently featured in the Q3 2020 issue of the Virginia Economic Review. The article, titled “Aeroprobe Sets Companies Up for Speed”, discussed the Christiansburg-based company’s Micro Air Data System. Many leaders and innovators in the unmanned systems field use Aeroprobe’s system.

The article also highlighted the talent benefits that Aeroprobe receives by being located in Virginia’s New River Valley. According to the article, “A critical element of Aeroprobe’s ability to attract the talent it needs is its Virginia location, minutes from Virginia Tech’s world-renowned Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering… as well as Radford University, where the physics department offers a dual degree program with Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering.”

Nathaniel Varano, Aeroprobe’s President, had this to say about locating in the NRV:

“Being here in Christiansburg gives us a centralized location in the New River Valley corridor. We’re fortunate to not only have so many universities and colleges to recruit from, but there are also so many great small and mid-sized technology companies, which draw an active community of entrepreneurs and technologists.”

Read the full article about Aeroprobe here.

Learn more about the unmanned systems field in the NRV here.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small-town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

Torc Robotics to Invest $8.5 Million and Create 350 New Jobs in Blacksburg

Torc Robotics to Invest $8.5 Million and Create 350 New Jobs in Blacksburg

~ Self-driving vehicle pioneer to invest $8.5 million to grow software development operations ~

Montgomery County, VA – Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Torc Robotics, a Blacksburg-based leader in self-driving vehicle systems, will invest $8.5 million to expand its software development operations in Montgomery County. The company will establish an additional facility at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in close proximity to its current operation in the Blacksburg Industrial Park. Virginia successfully competed with North Carolina and Texas for the project, which will create 350 new jobs.

“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,” said Governor Northam. “Self-driving technology is a booming sector, and Torc has been at the forefront of the industry since its founding. We thank the company for this significant investment in our Commonwealth, which comes at a critical point in our economic recovery, and we look forward to their continued entrepreneurship and innovation in the New River Valley.”

“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.”
– Governor Ralph Northam

Torc Robotics was established in Blacksburg—at the birth of the self-driving vehicle revolution—by a team of Virginia Tech students who, after winning multiple robotics challenges, decided to commercialize their technology. The company has 15 years of experience in pioneering safety-critical, self-driving applications. This expansion supports Torc’s effort to develop self-driving trucks with Daimler Trucks—the global market-share leader. While consumers dream of self-driving cars, industry leaders expect long-haul trucks will be the first vehicles to fully utilize the technology due to simpler driving environments and a stronger business case. Today, vehicles using Torc’s self-driving technology operate on multiple continents. In 2019, Torc joined the Daimler Trucks family and now employs about 175 people.

“As a homegrown Virginia company in Montgomery County, Torc Robotics is a tremendous example of the success startup technology businesses can achieve in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “The company is pioneering a niche market that has gained a lot of momentum, and the impressive talent pipeline from Virginia Tech combined with the New River Valley’s strong workforce will continue to support Torc’s growth as an industry leader.”

“The company is pioneering a niche market that has gained a lot of momentum, and the impressive talent pipeline from Virginia Tech combined with the New River Valley’s strong workforce will continue to support Torc’s growth as an industry leader.”
– Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball

Torc Robotics is a 2013 graduate of VEDP’s award-winning Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) Program. VALET is an application-based, two-year global export acceleration program that provides participating companies with assistance from a team of experienced international service providers to help meet their export goals.

“Trucking is the backbone of the U.S. economy, delivering food and products to every community,” said Torc Robotics CEO Michael Fleming. “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. We selected the Commonwealth for its workforce culture and regulatory climate. In our experience, people in the region stay with companies for the long-term. 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. Virginia has provided the opportunity to rapidly develop and test in unique environments and weather conditions, ranging from summer heat to winter snow.”

“In our experience, people in the region stay with companies for the long-term. Commercializing self-driving trucks is a marathon—not a sprint, and requires a long-term commitment from companies, investors, and employees.”
– Michael Fleming, Torc Robotics CEO

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with Montgomery County and Onward New River Valley to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Northam approved an $800,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Montgomery County with the project. The Governor also approved $3.5 million in funds from the Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant (VEDIG). VEDIG was established as a self-funded program of performance-based incentives that the Commonwealth awards to exceptional economic development projects with large numbers of employees and very high wages relative to average wages for that particular area.

Support for Torc Robotics’ job creation will be provided through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative created by VEDP in collaboration with the Virginia Community College System, with funding support from the Northam administration and the Virginia General Assembly. Launched in 2019, the program accelerates new facility start-ups through the direct delivery of recruitment and training services that are fully customized to a company’s unique products, processes, equipment, standards, and culture. All program services are provided at no cost to qualified new and expanding companies as an incentive for job creation.

“Torc Robotics continues to be a valued and integral part of our business community,” said Montgomery County Board of Supervisors Chair Steve Fijalkowski. “We are very excited to have Torc Robotics commit to new investments, innovations, and technology development in Montgomery County, where they can benefit from our community’s skilled and talented workforce.”

“Torc Robotics is emblematic of the exciting work being done in the New River Valley and the major contributions Virginia Tech graduates are making to the economy of our Commonwealth,” said Senator John S. Edwards. “Virginia is on the cutting edge of our nation’s transforming infrastructure thanks to companies like Torc. I look forward to many future successes from them.”

“We are thrilled that Torc continues to expand its investment in Montgomery County,” said Delegate Chris Hurst. “We take great pride in the burgeoning innovation and technology sector in New River Valley that continues to attract and retain a talented workforce. Torc’s continued growth will pave the way for future investments in Montgomery County and Southwest Virginia as a whole.”

Office of the Governor
Contact: Alena Yarmosky
Email: Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov

Virginia Economic Development Partnership
Contact: Suzanne Clark
Email: sclark@vedp.org

Torc Robotics
Contact: Eileen Quirk Baumann
Email: press@torc.ai
Phone: (540) 953-0073

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.