Torc Robotics is in the midst of expanding its footprint beyond the New River Valley.

The self-driving systems developer and its majority shareholder Daimler Trucks are currently testing their self-driving trucks on public highways in New Mexico and plan to establish a test center in the Albuquerque area, Torc announced.

The company said in a statement that the test center is an existing building that will be renovated. The project is expected to be complete by the end of the year, barring any delays due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Torc is also continuing testing in Virginia near the development and its headquarters, which is located in the Blacksburg Industrial Park.

“Our deep partnership has enabled us to progress faster and further,” Torc CEO Michael Fleming said in an announcement. “Torc has gained the data and perspective for developing technology for the trucking industry, plus a partner that is committed to safety.”

The partnership has accelerated the work on the kind of automated trucks that they plan to commercialize within the next decade, said Peter Vaughan Schmidt, head of the autonomous technology group at Daimler.

“The partnership has enabled both our teams to move faster on developing Level 4 trucks,” he said. “We will implement the results of our collaboration in the next phase of public road testing later this year.”

The work in New Mexico allows Torc to build on testing in Virginia, Fleming said.

“We are expanding testing to new public routes in New Mexico to collect data in different situations along a major long-haul trucking route for the United States,” he said. “Like Virginia, New Mexico’s highway system offers a range of road and weather conditions.”

The recent announcement from Torc marks yet another development in what has been a busy past year for a locally-founded company that has become one of the New River Valley’s flagship technology firms.

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