NRV Company TORC Is Disrupting the Auto Industry

If you haven’t heard, automated and driverless technology is thriving in Virginia’s New River Valley.

That’s right, NRV Company TORC and their revolutionary technology are disrupting the auto industry. Founded in 2005, TORC continues to create and refine self-driving technology for varying environments, from city street bustle to off-road adventure.

TORC actively works with mining and defense parters to minimize risk, meaning companies like Caterpillar are able to eliminate liability in dangerous work environments thanks to TORC’s innovation.

TORC Company Overview Video

This inventive company, founded by Virginia Tech students, hit the cover of Virginia Business this month with their groundbreaking technology.

“As the automotive industry moves us tantalizingly closer to a sci-fi future of roadways thrumming with such self-driving cars, Virginia has positioned itself as a hotbed for developing and testing autonomous vehicle technologies,” said Richard Foster, Virginia Business writer. “This is in large part due to innovative research work coming out of state universities such as Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia, as well as companies like Torc.”

Resources in the NRV like Virginia Tech and VTTI, and companies like TORC, are making unmanned systems research and production possible.

It looks like this disruptive technology is our future.

“If you think about it,” said TORC CEO Michael Fleming, “automobiles have been designed around the driver for the last 100 years. And one of the things that really excites me is, over the next 100 years, we’re going to design cars around passengers, because the driver is going to be a computer…”

Click here to read the full Virginia Business cover story.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for an inspiring place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of all worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s 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.

Volvo, Advanced Manufacturing, Virginia's New River Valley

New Brochures Showcase NRV Industries

New River Valley, VA – Onward NRV has officially published new brochures that showcase the region’s competitive advantages in: Advanced Manufacturing, Information Technology, Food Processing & Agribusiness, and Unmanned Systems.

Through a comprehensive study with the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development, Onward NRV identified four key clusters to support and grow in the region. A targeted approach ensures that resources are focused on clusters with the greatest local competitive advantage and return on investment for the region. These clusters, and their corresponding niches, funnel new money into the region, offer higher wages and equitable career pathways, and have strong growth forecasts.

Each of the brochures is an overview of the industry and is packed with information that’s helpful for people looking to live, work, and do business in Virginia’s New River Valley. The brochures incorporate the River Stone branding and feature notable accolades, higher education assets, quotes from regional leaders, business advantages, and photos from the NRV.

“These brochures are the culmination of our regional branding and targeted industry initiatives,” said Executive Director Charlie Jewell. “Not only do they look fantastic, but they also embody the spirit of the people and the companies in our region. They’re full of substantial information and will help us raise the visibility of the New River Valley as a hub for these industries.”

See the NRV targeted industry brochures on the Targeted Industry page, or the drop down menu in the regional website header.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for an inspiring place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of all worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s 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.

Roanoke Times: NRV to Lure Robots to Town as Autonomous Industry Booms

BLACKSBURG, VA– The NRV begins training part of its focus on the Unmanned Systems industry with a tour of Virginia Tech’s new drone cage and the Smart Road at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute at the end of a conference hosted by the Ridge and Valley chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

Photos by Matt Gentry, Roanoke Times

Read more from regional leaders like John Provo, director of the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development; Charlie Jewell, executive director of Onward NRV; and Michael Fleming, CEO of TORC Robotics in the full Roanoke Times article.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for a beautiful place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of both worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s 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 #10 in High-Tech Employment Concentration

New River Valley, VA – The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford MSA (commonly known as Virginia’s New River Valley) is the 10th most concentrated metro for number of jobs in high-tech industry, according to an analysis by Select USA. Of jobs in the NRV, 24.5% are in the high-tech industry. According to the analysis, high tech jobs are those that, “rely heavily on a skilled and educated workforce, act as innovative producers in our economy, and create and utilize advanced technologies.”


Because of the current base of technologically advanced jobs in the NRV and the region’s suitability for hosting this job market, Information Technology is one of the target industries of focus for the NRV. Our focus on Information Technology can be broken down into 4 sub-categories: Software Development, IT Support Services, Cybersecurity, and Digital Creatives. High-tech jobs also fall under other targeted industries in the NRV like Unmanned Systems and Advanced Manufacturing.


Virginia’s New River Valley has some of the best access to talent in tech industries. Considering it is a great place to live with a more affordable, down-to-earth culture, and exceptional access to research and innovation, the NRV is a natural fit for growing high-tech companies.


For more information about the Select USA high-tech industry study, click here.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for a beautiful place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of both worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s 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.