On October 6, 2017, Terry McAuliffe, Governor of Virginia, and other dignitaries attended a ceremony at the new headquarters of Perrone Robotics, Inc., (the “Company”) in bucolic Crozet, Virginia, at which the Governor announced a multi-million dollar expansion of the company and its proposed investment in employees and other capital over the next three years. The Company has developed a robotics software platform MAX ® (short for Mobile Autonomous X) that has application in autonomous vehicles ranging from large mining trucks to small robots. Also in attendance at the ceremony were Todd Haymore, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Congressman Thomas Garrett, Delegate Steven Landes, and Representative Ann Mallek of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.
The Governor and the legislators who spoke at the event highlighted how the Company could quickly become a hub for further development of the technology community in the beautiful town of Crozet and in Albemarle County in general. In particular the Governor emphasized how the Company would be adding substantially to the employment in the county and state as it pursues its aggressive growth trajectory. “Entrepreneurial companies like Perrone Robotics are putting Virginia on the map for cutting-edge industry and the jobs that come with it,” said the Governor.
Founder/CEO Paul Perrone welcomed the dignitaries and other guests and said, “Having fallen in love with the area during my college years, I relocated back to Charlottesville in 2003 to establish a robotics company.” He continued: “For me, this region offered the perfect blend of high-tech energy and a cultured university town with arts, high quality of living, and natural beauty that is unmatched in the U.S. As a pioneering high-tech robotics and autonomous vehicle company, we’ve been able to establish a development center here with a private driverless vehicle test track, large robot maker space and workshop, and flexible office space.”
Among the activities planned at the event were a presentation of the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia to Paul Perrone, and an autonomous vehicle ride for the Governor on the Company’s private test track. In a humorous demonstration of the autonomous vehicle’s “sense, plan, act” functionality enabled by MAX®, a Company employee dressed in a bear suit jumped out in front of the vehicle as the Governor was riding in it. As programmed the car came to a gradual and safe stop, and the Governor joked later that the Company had developed the best “bear-detection” technology in the world!
On a more serious note, the ceremony provided the Company an opportunity to showcase the many advances that it has made in developing and incorporating autonomy into vehicles made by various premium manufacturers, including a Range Rover, a Lincoln MKZ and a Honda Odyssey. Since then the Company has added a Land Rover Discovery to its stable and advanced its autonomy project for Liebherr Mining and Engineering involving surface hall mining trucks. A number of journalists were at the event and reported on it.
Earlier in the day, the Governor had attended an event at Clark Elementary School, at which representatives of the Company were present to showcase several small unmanned ground vehicles (“SUGVs”) they developed to 4th graders from the school. Also, in attendance was a robotics club from Charlottesville, Virginia, an aerial drone company, and a model rocket club. The Governor interacted with the students and teachers and engaged in a lively discussion about high-tech futures for the children at the school. The Company was proud to exhibit its SUGVs and to participate in such community outreach efforts.