Last modified on July 1, 2024

Analysis of testing procedures and administrative framework conditions on CCAM testing

The purpose of this analysis (carried out in the framework of FAME 1) is to investigate the different approaches, commonalities and distinctions across European countries, related to testing and the required permissions for such activities, as a basis to derive recommendations for mutual recognition within Europe.

The analysis is based on data collected from 30 countries (Norway, Switzerland and the UK in addition to the 27 EU Member States) on AV testing activities in the country, as well as on experiences from recent European large-scale pilots, results from the CCAM policy dialogue with the CCAM Partnership States Representatives Group (SRG) as well as an inventory of ethical approaches to testing AVs in Europe.

The examination of regulations and practices relating to the testing of AVs and the exploration of administrative, ethical and technical approaches across European nations has revealed a dynamic landscape. While some nations follow similar methods of operation, there are many examples of unique and isolated approaches. Comprehensive evaluation has revealed several valuable insights, presenting an opportunity for harmonising and improving the exemption process for testing AVs on public roads. These findings exhibit significant variation from one European country to another in this rapidly evolving field, highlighting the need for collaboration and harmonisation.


The current state of legal frameworks for testing AVs on Europe’s public roads serves as a primary measure for evaluating the various approaches. The absence of common procedures and regulations for testing AVs on public roads has posed a significant challenge for previous EU-funded pilot projects. Among the countries examined, some have established dedicated legal frameworks for testing of AVs, some have included related regulations in their national laws, and in others guidelines or a code of practice serve as the regulatory basis in the absence of national laws. It is worth noting that a few countries do not yet legally allow operating or testing AVs on public roads.

While legislative frameworks for testing of AVs differ significantly between countries, it is equally evident that shared principles and commonalities can be identified in their approaches. A common thread running through these regulations is the requirement for the presence of a safety operator or remote operator during testing. This safety mechanism, where a human is in the loop to intervene or take control of the vehicle when necessary, is seen as a fundamental safeguard to ensure public safety.

With future developments and AVs operating in more complex traffic conditions, discussions will not only challenge the requirements regarding safety operators but will also address safety margins and notable ethical considerations such as handling personal data and informed consent. Further highlights include the challenge of creating a unified ethical framework for artificial intelligence (AI) and AVs. Additionally, the need for basic ethical principles that are acceptable across various ethical theories and provide clear normative guidelines for the ethical regulation of AI systems, are emphasized.

In terms of technical and organisational aspects, the responsibility of the safety validation differs among the countries. In some, the applicant bears this responsibility, while in others it is transferred to the public authority managing the application procedure. Additionally, among the countries permitting testing of AVs on public roads, 17 of them require a general risk assessment to be performed prior to such testing. However, these assessments may vary in emphasis. In some cases, the risk assessment focuses upon the test vehicle, some on the roads used for testing and others encompass the entire testing procedure.

In several of the countries examined, there are obligations for reporting to authorities during or after testing activities. Many require interim reporting, and some specifically demand accident reporting. However, most countries lack a national system for storing such reports, except for Switzerland. Standardising the collection and storage of accident data could facilitate the testing of AVs within the European Union.

Data requirements for testing AVs on public roads vary considerably among countries. While 16 out of the 22 countries enabling testing on public roads outline minimum data recording requirements in case of incidents or accidents, there is a lack of standardised data exchange mechanisms, which complicates data sharing and management. European regulations, like 2019/2144 and 2022/1426, already establish requirements for event data recorders in new type-approved vehicles, covering aspects like speed, braking, and accident-related data. The evolving regulations will likely influence testing rules at the national level. Diverse data requirements present challenges within and across countries. Many countries aim to harmonise regulations and facilitate cross-border testing of AVs. They are involved in EU-funded projects advancing cross-border collaboration and fostering a common understanding of testing AVs on public roads. However, the acceptance of test permissions across different countries remains problematic, highlighting the need for a unified framework.

The analysis reveals additional considerations that could significantly impact the development of testing AVs on European public roads. One key aspect is the need to distinguish between testing scales. Existing legislation often does not account for the diverse requirements and challenges of various testing scenarios. Small-scale tests in controlled or private environments may not demand the same level of oversight as large-scale tests in urban settings. Thus, the introduction of classifications for different testing scales, along with customised safety assessments and multi‑step testing, has the potential to enhance innovation and safety simultaneously.

In summary, the European landscape of AV testing is a mix of both shared and differing regulatory approaches. While countries show common concerns related to safety, ethical considerations and the necessity of effective data management, their legislative approaches display notable differences. The interest in enabling automated driving (AD) on public roads, and implementing an automated mobility system, is evident across all countries under examination. However, it is equally apparent that varying approaches in testing and development might prohibit or delay the transition of testing AVs to their practical deployment in real-life operation. Harmonisation is a critical factor to ensure safe and efficient integration of CCAM technologies into the European transportation network. The findings of this study serve as a foundation pillar for future discussions, collaborations and recommendation for harmonisation efforts among European countries.

1 The FAME (Framework for coordination of Automated Mobility in Europe) EC project strives to enhance collaboration and data sharing within the Connected, Cooperative and Automated Driving (CCAM) stakeholder community in Europe. Its mission is to establish a unified framework for testing automated vehicles (AVs) on public roads, promoting comparability and reciprocity of results across large‑scale demonstration activities, with a primary focus on improving cooperation, consensus building and knowledge sharing among stakeholders.

One important action of FAME is the analysis of AV testing activities (on public roads, considering all types of automated road mobility, focusing on testing for learning purposes), including the observation of legal, administrative and technical aspects.

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