About truck platooning
Truck platooning is when trucks travel together connected by a computer system. The system communicates with the trucks to align speed, acceleration and braking. Drivers steer, watch the system, and intervene when needed.
Drivers are in all vehicles
According to Minnesota state law, each vehicle in the platoon must have a driver in the driver's seat. The driver tracks the truck's performance and must hold a valid driver’s license for the vehicle.
Up to three trucks
Minnesota state law limits platoons to three trucks.
Regulations in Minnesota
In 2019, the Minnesota Legislature passed legislation to direct how vehicle platoons are operated in the state (Statute 169.881). Key elements of the law include:
- Interested parties must submit a vehicle platoon plan to MnDOT for review and approval prior to operating a vehicle platoon on Minnesota roadways.
- The basic information required to be in any vehicle platoon plan is outlined in the statute. However, MnDOT may choose to require additional information.
- MnDOT, specifically the Commissioner of Transportation, has the authority to approval or deny vehicle platoon plans.
- General requirements to guide vehicle platooning operations are also included in the statute.
Where it's allowed
State law (Minnesota Truck Platooning Bill) enables truck platoons only on freeways and expressways. A map identifies pre-approved routes.
Types of trucks allowed
According to State law (Minnesota Truck Platooning Bill Subd. 4), each vehicle in the platoon must meet certain height, width and weight limits. Additionally, certain types of vehicles are not recommended such as those carrying hazardous materials, vehicles carrying fluids (e.g. tankers, concrete trucks) and vehicles carrying pipes, lumbers or similar types of loose loads.
How to spot them
It's unlikely you'll know if you are traveling near a platoon. Platooning trucks look similar to regular trucks. However, a truck platoon may be marked with signage to indicate they are traveling together.
Merging between platooning trucks
Each vehicle in the vehicle platoon has a platooning system installed and running while platooning. This system will allow for that vehicle to merge and the adaptive cruise control, which enables the automatic braking function, will adjust the spacing between the lead and following trucks to a safe distance. Other vehicles cutting in or out will stop the operation of a steady platoon. However, the platooning system will still be in engaged. In short, if another vehicle cuts in between vehicles in a platoon, the computer system will automatically adjust the spacing and/or temporarily pause platooning.
In case of malfunctions
During system malfunctions, the licensed driver in each vehicle will take control of the truck and drive and react as they do today without the system.
Applying to platoon in Minnesota
Anyone can apply at any time. Get your plan approved.