Three Questions With...Michael Fleming, CEO of Torc Robotics

Dec. 10, 2015

Another in a series of byte-sized one-on-one visits with construction industry insiders. Fleming was on hand as Caterpillar recently demonstrated a remote-control system, developed with Torc, for its D Series skid steer, CTL and MTL line.  

1. How did this partnership start?

Torc has been working with Caterpillar for about eight years. We started with the autonomous hauling system program, and one of our government customers was interested in automating skid steer loaders and decided to select the Caterpillar skid loader platform as the base vehicle. That sort of kicked off the dialog. We then spent some time brainstorming what products some of Caterpillar’s commercial customers would be interested in. I think you’re aware of Caterpillar’s commitment to safety, and we felt that the RemoteTask remote-control system was an accessory to the skid steer loaders to remove the operators from the cab and add the next level of safety.

2. Will we see this on other Caterpillar products, if so, which ones?

From Torc’s standpoint, we would like to see this on other Caterpillar products; I think a lot of that is based on demand and what customers are asking for, so we’re very open to customers coming to us. I think it’s important we make the community aware that this type of technology is available and affordable. And also, to be sure to listen to the customer and ask them "Where else can you make use of this technology and on what equipment?" ...And let that drive where we go next.

3. Do you work with any other manufacturers in the construction industry or do you have an exclusive agreement with Cat?

We have a very close partnership with Caterpillar, they’re one of our longest-standing customers. But Torc is involved in the defense market and the automotive market, and we work with automotive OEMs and tier 1 OEMs, and oftentimes what we like to do is leverage technology from different verticals and bring that technology into another vertical. The way that I look at it is we can leverage technology from the automotive and defense markets and bring those to mining and construction customers.

About the Author

Frank Raczon

Raczon’s writing career spans nearly 25 years, including magazine publishing and public relations work with some of the industry’s major equipment manufacturers. He has won numerous awards in his career, including nods from the Construction Writers Association, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, and BtoB magazine. He is responsible for the magazine's Buying Files.