BLACKSBURG — Self-driving vehicle systems developer Torc Robotics is still on track to add jobs later this year despite the economic setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Torc, founded in 2005 and presently housed in the Blacksburg Industrial Park, recently affirmed that it plans to increase the company’s size by more than 50% by year’s end.
The company’s website on Wednesday listed 19 job openings, with many of the positions tied to software development. The listings don’t specify pay ranges.
While the company wouldn’t say how many people it currently employs, it said last year that it had about 100 employees and announced plans at the time to maintain the growth of its workforce. The company said in its recent announcement that it has steadily added new employees since January.
“We are very fortunate that most of us can work from home — and our team has been using this time to scale up our virtual testing and future fleet infrastructure,” CEO Michael Fleming said in a news release. “Over the past 10 years, we’ve built our culture on winning teams and find that [the company is] great at solving problems, including bringing on new team members during a pandemic.”
The adaptations Torc has made during the pandemic include video panel interviews and additional relocation assistance for full-time employees. New hires are currently working from home and were onboarded remotely.
A new cohort of team members started last week, Fleming said in the release. He didn’t say how many.
The company plans to complete a nearly 16,000-square-foot expansion of its headquarters by later this year. The expansion will nearly double the size of the existing facility.
Torc is also designing additional future expansion projects, the company announced.
Torc’s growth plans come amid recent developments within the company. The Blacksburg-based firm recently entered into an automated truck development partnership with Daimler Trucks.
Daimler Trucks is a division of the corporation best known for brands such as Freightliner, Mercedes-Benz and Smart.
Daimler acquired a majority share in Torc in 2019, but the agreement allowed the Blacksburg company to retain its name, management, employees and facilities.
“Over the next several years, we will continue to hire aggressively,” Fleming said. “Commercializing automated trucks on public roads is complex and we will need additional talent to get us there.”
One of the New River Valley’s flagship high-tech companies, Torc develops what it refers to as “Level 4” self-driving technology. The company says its technology does not require human intervention but is applied to specific areas or uses. The firm partners with manufacturers and mobility companies to integrate its technology on their vehicles.
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