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The Future of UAVs: Insights from Hungary’s 1st Drone Conference

Innovation

Ferenc Dietz, president of GDE.

The “Drone Technology Challenges for Data Processing and Data Security” conference, organized by Gábor Dénes Egyetem (GDE or Dénes Gábor University), was a landmark event, emphasizing the growing relevance of the airborne technology, AI, and data security in today’s world.

The conference, the first of its kind in the country, was held on Nov. 17 and served as a forum for Hungarian and international drone ecosystem experts to present their latest research findings and trends.

Reflecting on the transformative changes brought about by drone technology in various domains, the conference highlighted its revolutionary impact in fields like aerial photography, meteorology, and agriculture. These changes are increasingly powered by AI, ushering in an era where drone usage is set to escalate across all aspects of life. This underscores the urgency to address the scientific opportunities and risks presented.

Budapest-based GDE, renowned in Hungary for its expertise in IT education and innovation, took the significant step of organizing this international conference, emphasizing the importance of responsible drone technology use. The event served as a critical platform for presenting the latest research in the field while also shedding light on the essential elements of the upcoming Hungarian drone strategy.

Integral to the nation’s technological advancement, this strategy, was a focal point of discussions, reflecting the university’s role in shaping the future of drone tech nationally and globally.

“According to our calculations, the new Hungarian drone strategy will contribute more than HUF 280 billion to Hungary’s GDP and create nearly 14,000 jobs by the decade’s end,” State Secretary for Industrial Policy and Technology Gergely Fábián of the Ministry of Economic Development, told the conference.

Veronika Kozma-Bognár, vice-rector for science and head of research at GDE.

7-pillar Strategy

The strategy encompasses seven main pillars, including establishing a legal framework and validation environment for drones, spurring the growth of the national drone industry and infrastructure, and setting economic and business objectives. It also emphasizes the development of transformative projects and the dissemination of knowledge regarding unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), coupled with public and professional education.

“We are integrating our research results with companies into our educational programs to provide practical and up-to-date knowledge,” emphasized Ferenc Dietz, the president of GDE and also the chancellor of the Budapest Business School. This approach aims to impart practical and up-to-date knowledge, blending the university’s research collaborations with corporate entities directly into its educational programs.

Highlighting the rapid advancement of info-communication technologies, Veronika Kozma-Bognár, vice-rector for science and head of research at GDE, pointed out the dual nature of these developments.

“While they generate digital wealth and enhance population well-being and comfort, they also pose significant risks if mismanaged,” she told the conference. In response, GDE initiated a research program to assess and augment the information security immunity of the general populace and SMEs.

This initiative involves the deployment of state-of-the-art drones and software and student participation in research activities. The program aims to develop concrete proposals and programs to enhance information security awareness among the population, including innovative technologies, and strengthen workplace security, particularly in SMEs, ultimately contributing to Hungary’s national security.

Dual-language

The inaugural GDE conference was conducted in Hungarian and English to accommodate a wide range of participants from the country and abroad. It covered a comprehensive array of topics, including data and information security, UAV sensor data processing, various applications of drone technology, and the latest technical advancements.

Discussions also focused on automation in drone control, cloud-based solutions, image processing techniques specific to drones, and pertinent legal considerations for UAV systems. A significant portion of the event was dedicated to educational aspects, highlighting the university’s role in preparing students for future challenges in the ever-evolving field of drone technology.

The agenda was structured to ensure an efficient flow of events. It commenced with early morning registration, followed by an opening ceremony and a series of plenary lectures. The day continued with various presentations, interspersed with lunch and coffee breaks, and concluded in the late afternoon.

Each presentation, lasting 15-20 minutes, was designed to offer focused and thorough insights into different facets of drone technology, ensuring that participants could gain a broad understanding of the field in a concise format.

Alongside the university’s president and vice-rector and the state secretary, other notable speakers included József Berke, chair of the drone technology and image processing scientific workshop at GDM; university associate professor Gábor Nagy; vice-rector for education and chair of the informatics department István Vári-Kakas; and Dávid Jakab, CEO of Omega Code Hungary Kft.

The presentations and findings from the conference will be made available on GDE’s website (dge.hu), offering a valuable resource for those keen on exploring the latest advancements in drone technology. This aligns with the university’s goal to disseminate knowledge and foster an environment of continual learning and innovation.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of December 1, 2023.

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