1 – This is fantastic.
2 – We need more of this in Crozet. (skip to the end)
3 – Here’s hoping Perrone stays in Crozet.
Full coverage at NBC29
“Today’s announcement marks another huge win for Virginia’s nationally recognized and expanding autonomous and unmanned vehicle industries,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “Perrone is a true Virginia entrepreneurial success story. The company, which began 14 years ago as a small business, is growing its team significantly. I’m confident it will continue to attract a strong pipeline of talent, and Albemarle County will greatly benefit from these new, 21st century jobs.”
“Having fallen in love with the area during my college years, I relocated back to Charlottesville in 2003 to establish a robotics company,” said Perrone Robotics Chief Executive Officer Paul Perrone. “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. All this complete with the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop and proximity to the emerging Crozet downtown mall. These facilities and work environment give us not only a tremendous competitive edge to create autonomous vehicles and robotics, but also attract high tech staff who want to be part of the historic gold rush in robotic vehicles while embracing the rich and diverse lifestyle in the heart of Virginia.”
Gov. Terry McAuliffe estimates that by 2025, self-driving cars will “all over the streets.” To hit the gas on that projection, a Crozet-based technology company will invest $3.8 million to expand its research and development operation in Albemarle County.
McAuliffe was joined by local politicians from both sides of the aisle on Friday at Perrone Robotics, a developer of autonomous car software that has operated in Crozet since 2003, to announce the expansion and take a test drive in one of Perrone’s self-driving sedans.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership will support the company’s expansion through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, which provides consultative services and funding to companies creating jobs. Virginia competed against California, Michigan and Pennsylvania to keep the expansion project in-state, which is projected to create 171 jobs over the next three years, according to founder Paul Perrone.
“These kinds of subsidies and incentives are tremendously helpful,” Perrone said. “Especially a small company like ours that is trying to cross the chasm from a small company to a large company — anything like that can help out a tremendous amount.”
Albemarle County will support the project by matching the state’s investment program funding. The amount of the per-job stipend from the state, and the corresponding local match, could not be determined by press time.
Real jobs, not just retail and restaurants. Young people graduate from WAHS or UVA, where can they work in town? Some apartments within walking distance of the Square, with the median housing price in Crozet being above $275K, where can a young WAHS or UVA graduate live in town even if there were employers? A town needs all these things to maintain its own identity, otherwise it becomes a mere bedroom community for Charlottesville.