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Transformation and Innovation

Text: Gábor Kálmánfi | Photo: by the author |  15:51 June 16, 2022

To complement the session on transformation at the V4 Chiefs of Defence Meeting, a display event entitled „Transformation and Innovation” enriched with presentations, demonstrations and dynamic elements was held in ZalaZONE industrial park, Zalaegerszeg on Monday, 13 June.

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How will the V4 countries be able to cooperate in the future in the field of transformation and its innovation subfield? The participants of the program “Transformation and Innovation” were seeking possible answers to this question during presentations and dynamic demonstrations at ZalaZONE Industrial Park. With the help of experts from the Széchenyi István University of Győr, the Budapest University of Technology and ZalaZONE, the high-ranking guests visiting the hub focused on research and development, innovation and defence industry had opportunity to gain theoretical as well as practical insights into the possibilities of the perhaps not so distant future.

Prepared in collaboration with the University of Győr, the presentations highlighted the way technological progress promotes the practice of strategic decision-making by creating war games designed in a 3D multi-domain environment, and also the possibilities inherent in the development of capabilities generated through Human-Machine Interaction (HIM). In his presentation, besides introducing the AVL Proving Ground of the park, Zsolt Szalay PhD, Head of Research and Innovation at ZalaZONE also pointed out that the hub may soon join NATO’s Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) program. (The DIANA program investigates how to efficiently harness technological innovations of the private sector and academia for the defence sphere).

ZalaZONE Managing Director András Háry PhD gave a general introduction to the varied ecosystem and potentials of the whole park. Turning to practice, among others, Brigadier General Dieter Kohl, Special Advisor and Innovation Champion at NATO’s Allied Command Transformation (ACT) and Jean-Francois Ripoche, Director of Research, Technology and Innovation of the European Defence Agency (EDA) tested an autonomous driving (AD) vehicle on the ZalaZONE Proving Ground which is capable, by itself, of drifting along a mathematically computed regular arc, putting professional racing drivers to shame.

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Major General László Sticz, Chief of the Hungarian Defence Forces Command Force Planning Directorate, Colonel János Szőnyegi, Chief of the Hungarian Defence Forces Command Force Planning Directorate Transformation Branch, and Colonel Imre Porkoláb PhD, Director, Leadership Training Academy, Matthias Corvinus Collegium also had a chance to remotely drive a Mercedes military off-road vehicle. Its steering wheel and the usual pedals are housed in a container, and the off-road vehicle is running on the proving ground, maybe at distances of several hundred meters. Like in a computer game, the driver can see on multiple displays what he would see behind the wheel. To make a long story short, modern research and development have inherent potentials in the fields of national defence and the defence industry, which may be best exploited through cross-border cooperation and development projects.