Testing infrastructure

Any technology can be tested on any infrastructure as long as the authorization is given by the Public Authorities. There is a priori no restriction. However, AD technologies of passenger cars cannot be tested on roads/streets for public transport only (bus lanes for example). Only AD technologies for public transport can be tested on these roads/streets

Procedure description

Any applicant who wishes to conduct an experiment for AD technologies on French open roads must obey the following procedure (which was an administrative procedure till March 2018 and became a regulatory procedure ever since). Legal texts describing this procedure are available in French in the ‘Journal officiel’. The procedure is the following:

  • The applicant has to produce 4 documents: a dossier explaining what the experiment consists of (objectives, experimental design, etc.), a dossier describing the prototype(s) that will be tested and how its (their) safety has been taken into consideration, a questionnaire (about 90 questions) summarizing the main issues of the experiment; and finally the applicant has to contact the road operators and get their advices about conducting the experiments on their road network (the applicant must provide the advices of the road operators)
  • The experiment is presented to the Public Authorities during a meeting when questions are raised and responses are brought into the above dossiers.
  • The dossiers are submitted to the Public Authorities
  • 3 ministries (Transition Ecologique et Solidaire / Domestic Affairs / Economics) examine the dossiers and agree or disagree. Sometimes, they can raise new questions and the applicant produce the information requested
  • When everything is agreed, the Ministry of ecological affairs issues an authorization to get a special experimental AD registration for the prototype(s) that can be driven strictly in the conditions specified in the dossiers (especially only on the routes declared as tested routes). The authorization runs for at most two years.

Delay between submission and authorization can vary between 2 months (rarely shorter) and 4 months.

Organisation(s) in charge

  • Ministry of Ecological Transition and Solidarity (in charge of Transport)
  • Ministry of domestic affairs (in charge of Traffic Safety)
  • Ministry of Economy and Finance

Contact information

Ministry of Ecological Transition and Solidarity

Link to procedure website

Link to documents

Upcoming regulation:

Further comments

The Public Authorities also require that an assessment is done periodically, quarter by quarter and yearly.

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