ZalaZone was founded in 2019 by the Austrian Automotive Testing Company and the owner of the Zalaegerszeg complex, the state-owned Autóipari Tóbapálya Zala Kft.
According to Managing Director Robert Siddi, these are the modules currently in operation: Smart City, brake-testing on eight different surfaces, a dynamic surface with a diameter of 300 meters, and a handling track (the smaller racetrack).
The 50-kilometer M76 road between Balatonszentgyörgy and Zalaegerszeg will soon be completed as well, and a 12-kilometer straight section of this may be closed in one direction for testing twice a week, according to an agreement with the state. The 12 kilometers will be equipped with a complete vehicle communication system allowing for cars to travel at speeds of more than 250 kilometers per hour.
Another testing option offered by a Hungarian-Austrian-Slovenian agreement will examine how the operation of cars equipped with vehicle communication devices traveling between designated cities in the three countries will be affected if a communication system changes after crossing the border.
Next year, a module with inclinations of 5, 12, 18, 25 and 30 degrees will be built, and the handling track will be complemented by a one-kilometer-long, six-meter-wide smaller handling track that can be watered along its entire length.
The epidemic situation has not slowed construction, and ZalaZone just had nearly its best month so far, as only Hungary allowed for testing in Europe. The occupancy rate of the facilities is currently around 25-30 percent.
The most significant customers are vehicle parts manufacturers such as Knorr-Bremse, Bosch and Continental, but the services are also used by car manufacturers, including Porsche and Volkswagen. The test track cannot be used for private purposes as of yet, but this should be possible later on. Meanwhile, technical drivers’ training is taking place, especially on Friday afternoons and weekends.
According to Robert Siddi, ZalaZone is one of the five best automotive test tracks in Europe, and the 15-hectare Smart City primarily tailors to the needs of self-driving vehicles.
In addition to the tracks, the company also offers the possibility of having your own assembly workshop, smaller research center, accommodation, and conference rooms, not to mention a team of drivers.
All vehicle communication systems are currently operated by Vodafone. ZalaZone isalso hosting various research projects in collaboration with Budapest University of Technology, while the autonomous transport departments at the universities of Győr and Veszprém are working in an R&D center at the end of the test track.