After a more than 2,500 mile journey, the Torc Robotics self-driving car arrived in Seattle in July—marking Washington state’s first certified driverless vehicle pilot test.
The six day trip started in Washington D.C. and spanned 13 states, according to a news release. The car successfully handled heavy urban traffic on the narrow streets of Washington D.C., heavy rains and highway detours in West Virginia, and aggressive traffic and frequent tailgating in Wyoming. This was the first leg of a round-trip cross-country drive and testing milestone.
Torc chose Seattle as its destination because of Washington’s encouragement of autonomous vehicle testing, according to the release. Governor Jay Inslee recently signed an executive order allowing driverless cars to test-drive on Washington roads, with or without a human behind the wheel.
Torc was the first company that registered with the new Autonomous Vehicle Pilot Program permit to test its self-driving car in Washington.
Torc has implemented its self-driving technology in safety-critical environments like defense and mining for the last decade, according to the release. Torc unveiled its complete self-driving consumer car system in July, and consumer car prototypes have been on the roads since February. Earlier this year, a Torc vehicle completed a trip from company headquarters in Blacksburg, Virginia to Detroit.
“Cross-country testing and experiencing different driving styles is critical to the success of any self-driving consumer system,” said Michael Fleming, Torc co-founder and CEO. “I’m very happy with how our system performed.”