Dear Torc’rs and friends,
I have had an amazing career leading this team for the last 17 years from start-up, to scale-up, to acquisition, to rapid growth. I’ve often reflected how bold (which is a synonym for absurd) it was to start Torc as a student in 2005 to commercialize autonomous vehicles. Perhaps even more bold (or absurd) are the Torc’rs that joined at this stage and stayed committed to our mission for the last 17 years. Many of these people are still with us today.. It was this commitment and resiliency that allowed Torc to pioneer the virtual driver to cross the finish line in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. I cannot thank these Torc’rs enough for their boldness and dedication.
In the scale-up phase, Torc grew in revenue and was profitable for 13 consecutive years by commercializing the virtual driver with early adopters in mining and defense. In one of my favorite books, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, it estimates a 0.2% chance of making it to this stage of revenue. I cannot thank the Torc’rs enough for defying the odds and finding ways to win throughout the ups and downs during this 13-year period.
In 2018, while the industry was fixated on robotaxi applications, I made the difficult decision to pivot towards trucking as I believed it was an easier problem to solve with a much stronger business case. From experience, we knew an OEM was critical to commercializing autonomous vehicles. In our search for a truck OEM, we found a great cultural fit with market share leader Daimler Truck and joined as an independent entity to retain our culture of innovation. Joining the Daimler Truck family was one of the best moves that Torc could have made and that becomes clearer to me each day.
Since joining the Daimler Truck family three years ago, we more than quadrupled to our headcount to more than 600 and opened three new locations. This growth required Torc to bring on new leaders, create new teams, restructure existing teams, revamp process and systems, and change the way we make decisions and communicate. This growth would have not been possible without Torc’rs commitment to drive change at all levels.
Today, Torc is a major player in the autonomous vehicle market and well positioned to be the first to a profitable, scalable, autonomous product. Torc has a growing army of Ideal Torc’rs (hungry, humble, people smart) focusing on one application (long haul trucking), one platform (Autonomous Cascadia), one region (US). We also have the commitment and backing of the market leader, Daimler Truck.