Field Operational Test (FOT) programmes are large scale testing programmes aiming at an assessment of the efficiency, quality, robustness and acceptance of new products and services in a real environment.
Field Operational Test
On the one end, a FOT requires the roll-out of a technology platform necessary for the tests of the specific product or service. At the other end the specific tests have to be defined and executed by a group of selected test-persons and the results achieved will have to be interpreted.
FOTs have become a tool for public authorities in support of their innovation policies. Most of European public authorities have broadened the scope of their policies. They do this by including the last phase of the product development in the field of innovative activities that can receive public support and FOTs fall under that category.
From a legal point of view FOTs require extra answers. Compared to more classical forms of R&D co-operation some extra layers are added, increasing the complexity of the legal issues. This stems both from the type of work undertaken, (i.e. the development, roll-out and exploitation of the platform) as from the type of results achieved (i.e. the data obtained with the tests of the product or service).
This article only deals with those specific questions related to the FOT. The more general legal issues that are common to FOTs and other forms of R&D projects have been thoroughly analyzed before and need of course to be taken into account when setting up an FOT in order to ensure that this consortium is organised efficiently.
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