Autonomous cars receive millions in investments

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CROZET, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Perrone Robotics is investing $3.8 million to grow its facilities and business in Virginia.

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the investment on Friday at the company's Crozet location. He then took a test drive around the facility in an autonomous car.

"He didn't touch the gas, he didn't touch the steering wheel once," he said. "We drove around this big loop and all these obstacles came out in front of us. This is the future."

Albemarle County has worked with the Economic Development Authority to match the funds the company received from a Virginia Jobs Investment Program grant. In addition to investing in the state economy, Perrone Robotics' expansion will also bring jobs to the area.

"It's nice that we're being able to provide state resources to a business that's not only located in Albemarle County, but that's growing and going to expand their job base about 127 jobs," said state Delegate Steve Landes.

The company was choosing between expanding in California, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, but opted to stay in Virginia to have room to grow.

"Anyone who has any sort of eye on the future understands that autonomous platforms are going to be a growth industry," said Congressman Tom Garrett. "If we could have that growth here, in the county, in the region, that would be great for everybody. And Perrone's the tip of the iceberg."

Virginia is doing its part to support this industry by adopting new highway and road construction to the technological needs of these cars.

"The new roads I'm building in northern Virginia, 75 miles of sensors we're installing in all the new roads," McAuliffe said. "We're the first state to do this."

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