torc bldg 071318 (copy)

Torc Robotics is at 405 Partnership Drive SE in Blacksburg. The company announced an expansion of its headquarters this week.

Construction crews will begin work this week on a headquarters expansion for Torc Robotics, Blacksburg’s autonomous vehicle company that is being acquired by an automotive giant.

Torc employed about 100 people when it announced plans in March to join forces with Daimler Trucks, a division of the corporation best known for brands like Freightliner, Mercedes-Benz and Smart.

The company expects to employ about 180 people by next spring, according to a Torc spokeswoman.

“A larger team will position us to meet the growing demand of our customers in the self-driving space and engage the trucking market,” Torc CEO Michael Fleming said in a Tuesday news release.

The Diamler acquisition is still pending approval by federal regulators, but Torc isn’t standing idly by in the meantime.

The company is building a 15,800-square-foot addition to its headquarters in the Blacksburg Industrial Park, roughly doubling the size of the facility to around 30,000 square feet.

The two-story addition will be connected to the existing structure on Partnership Drive.

Daimler Trucks executives alluded to this kind of expansion last time they came to town to announce the acquisition. Roger Nielsen, CEO of the company’s North American operations, pointed to empty land beside Torc’s office, noting that it had already secured plenty of room to grow.

“We definitely are going to grow this business. We have to,” Nielsen said in March.

If the Daimler Trucks deal goes forward as anticipated, Torc would become part of the company’s newly formed Autonomous Technology Group. The mission would be put highly automated trucks on U.S. roads within a decade.

Torc would remain a separate company with its own name, headquarters and customers. But the majority of the business would belong to Daimler.

As of Tuesday, Torc advertised 22 open positions on its website, from truck drivers to software developers.

“We are a passionate, tightly-knit team, motivated to save lives and transform transportation,” Fleming said in Tuesday press release. “We are looking forward to adding new Torc’rs.”

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