Our Story

Giving birth to the future of autonomous technologies

Our goal was and is simple: reinvent our world

In 2005, a small group of Virginia Tech students lead by Dr. Charlie Reinholtz designed and built three autonomous robots to compete in the AUVSI Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition. After three rigorous days of competition, the team swept first, second, and third places in the autonomous and navigation challenges, and first and second in the design competition.

That same year, competing against an initial 195 applicants in the DARPA Grand Challenge, the team placed 8th and 9th with robots completing nearly 100 combined miles of autonomous driving in the harsh rocky desert terrain. These successes generated a wealth of interest for commercial applications of the team’s technologies. We knew we could have a greater impact on society as a private company, so we founded Torc Robotics.

Changing the world doesn’t happen overnight. It takes hard work and a clear vision of what the future should be.

When Torc was based in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, DARPA once again played a critical role by announcing the DARPA Urban Challenge. This competition required manned and autonomous vehicles to compete simultaneously, meaning teams had to follow all CA traffic laws and be able to merge with moving traffic, navigate intersections, and execute safe U-turns in a cluttered environment. 89 teams applied to compete, including Team VictorTango, a joint Torc/Virginia Tech effort. 35 teams were invited to qualifications, where the top 11 teams each earned a $1M grant and a shot to compete in the main challenge. VictorTango placed third in the challenge, besting teams from prestigious universities such as MIT and Cornell.

As Torc grew, so did our reach in terms of clients and project complexity. From advanced military applications of autonomous technologies, to digital control systems for the mining industry, to complex programs designed to inform the next generation of smart consumer automobiles, we’re fundamentally changing the way our clients work. And in 2015, we changed the way we work by opening our new 20,000 sq. ft. headquarters, where we can develop, test, prove, and implement the most advanced autonomous systems on the market today.

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