Testing infrastructure

All public roads in the Netherlands are open for testing, after an exemption has been obtained from the Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW) and the relevant road operator(s). E.g. Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) if the testing concerns highways, and other road operators if the testing concerns urban and/or city networks. Among others RDW has a closed proving ground.

Procedure description

For Field Operational Tests with an automated vehicle there are two tracks:

  • For tests with a human driver in the vehicle.
  • For tests with a remote driver.

For tests with a human driver in the vehicle:

The Dutch assessment framework has five steps. These steps indicate at what point the test application is in the process. The steps  are as follows:

The intake step is focused on the preparatory treatment and pre-assessment of the test application; The preparation step is focused on the preparation of the assessment of the test application; The assessment step provides a decision on safety and whether the test can and may be carried out. The applicant is then granted an exemption by the RDW; The execution step is dedicated to carrying out the test on public roads; During the evaluation step, it is reviewed to see whether the process must be improved and to safeguard knowledge.

Each step contains criteria which must be satisfied before there can be a move to the next step. The application processing time  is approximately three months. The application processing time depends on the type of vehicle, completeness and quality of the documents submitted by the applicant, experience from earlier tests, the cooperation of the relevant applicant and the primary and  secondary parties, as well as the observance of the handling time. The costs of the application are based on the fixed rates 2 of the relevant type of exemption and the variable costs. These variable costs depend on, inter alia, the required man hours, any  use of RDW services (such as the test centre) and the degree of preparation by the applicant and the distance to be travelled by RDW to assess the vehicle. The applicant is responsible for the payment of the incurred costs. Understanding the ‘tailored work  and flexibility’ factors are important in CAD test applications. The RDW works on the basis of new insights. New insights in this context means that important learning points from previous applications can lead to direct changes in the method and the process  for new and current applications. These will be clearly communicated. This is a learning process for the RDW and all other stakeholders. This may mean that the policy is regularly adjusted. This entire process falls under ISO-accreditation of the RDW.

For tests with a remote driver:

The framework as mentioned above is followed. Extra tests are carried out to make sure the remote driver (who remains the legal driver) is at all times capable to take over control of the vehicle when needed. When the decision is made that the test can and may be carried out, a permit is issued by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

Organisation(s) in charge

The Netherlands Vehicle Authority, RDW

Contact information


Link to procedure website

Link to documents

  • Vehicle Safety and Security Framework (VSSF), RDW:The VSSF is developed to accommodate the increase in software in vehicles.The VSSF is a framework that determines the robustness of the IT systems in vehicles
  • Vehicle Driving License Framework (VDLF), RDW:The VDLF is developed to accommodate the increase of automated driving tasks in vehicles.The VDLF is a framework that determines the level of safe and predictable automated driving behavior.

Further comments

Smart Mobility Embassy is a general national starting point for ITS testing

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