Cezeri, Turkey's first flying car debuts at Teknofest

Last week, Turkey's latest technological developments were displayed at Teknofest, the world's biggest technology festival, and among the thousands of new devices, the spotlight was on Cezeri, a Turkish flying automobile

Turkey's first flying car, Cezeri became the most notable product at this year's Teknofest, the country's top aerospace and technology festival visited by nearly 2 million people from Sept. 17-22.

A team of 50 engineers at Cezeri Robot, a concern of Baykar Group, under the guidance of Baykar's Technical Manager and Turkey Technology Team Foundation (T3 Foundation) Chairman Selçuk Bayraktar developed the flying car. Cezeri stood caught the imagination of the visitors throughout the event. Project manager at Cezeri Robot, Ozan Yağcı became a prominent name at this year's Teknofest, thanks to their product.

"Members of the International Vertical Flight Society are now curious about our prototype. They want to know what kind of vehicle it is," Yağcı shared his enthusiasm while introducing Turkey's first national flying vehicle to the visitors throughout the four-day festival.

Cezeri Robot, named after the 12th-century Muslim inventor Ismail al-Jazari (Cezeri in Turkish), has been involved in hundreds of projects, including the giant air-land transport brands such as Boeing, Bell, Rolls-Royce, the leading names of ride-sharing such as Uber, and cargo companies like Amazon due to its unmanned aerial vehicle-based technology.

While the competitive race continues in the international arena, the flying car market is estimated to be worth $90 billion by 2026, according to Report Consultant. Finally, on Sept. 14, Germany's Volocopter brand completed its project and successfully performed the flight test. So, what is Turkey's position in this race?

Battery tech matters

Yağcı said Turkey was very close to flight tests and that they would concentrate on the testing process after Teknofest. "We are not following the trend but determining the trend. We have gathered serious experience in aviation for a while now. Our Bayraktar TB2 UAV flew around 150,000 hours. We have very advanced technologies in terms of both software and hardware," Yağcı said.

"In aviation, there is a rule: to say that an aircraft is reliable, it must have flown 30,000 hours. Many international brands have made hour-based flights. We have achieved thousands of hours; therefore, we use proven flight algorithms. We own the critical components, the entire flight control system, the sensor and the structural system of this vehicle.

When reminded of the projects in the U.S. and Europe, most of which were electric, some worked with hybrid and even hydrogen fuel, Yağcı noted that if you want to transport people, the vehicle must be hybrid or electric. "Hybrid stays in the air longer, but there is carbon release. After all, everyone has to go back to electricity, but the truth is that a serious leap is a must in battery technology," he further explained.

Civil aviation rules

Ozan Yağcı, the project manager of Cezeri poses with the flying car.

Yağcı pointed out that the regulations regarding civil public transport are a priority, as well as the battery technology, which is the determinant of the load-carrying capacity. "Before dozens of these vehicles fly in the air, everything needs to be defined regularly because there are too many details to consider," he continued. "This is a very difficult job. There is no international standard because everyone is new at this. It will take time to close the gaps in the aviation sector. Both the U.S. and Europe have just begun working on this issue. As we begin our flight tests, we will also work on these civil aviation rules."

LIDAR sensor technology

Yağcı said they wanted to integrate superior aviation systems to aircraft in the next stage, indicating that they would use LIDAR sensor technology, which could be defined as the operation of the radar with laser systems, allowing the visualization of what is happening around the aircraft in three dimensions. This technology allows the aircraft to detect and avoid obstacles, just like autonomous vehicles.

US Air Force ready for AI

The tension between the Gulf countries in the center of the Persian Gulf, including the U.S. and sometimes Britain, is proof that the importance of the concept of national security will grow further. While Gulf countries blamed each other for some of the commercial ships seized in the Persian Gulf, there were mutual threats as well.

Following this new international "hot spot" that emerged between July and August, the recent announcement that Saudi Arabia's official oil company, Saudi Aramco, was attacked by an armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) reveals that the technological equipment of air forces will largely determine the military superiority of countries. While these developments took place in the Gulf, the U.S. Air Force published a very important report on the critical role of air forces last week.

Further cooperation in trade

The priority point outlined in the U.S. Air Force report is that artificial intelligence (AI) will change the concept of war from the 21st century onward. Other headlines highlighted in this report are that this superior technology has been used by commercial airlines so far and that the U.S. air, space and cyberspace missions are filtering through AI in the fields of data and information, while rival countries continue to integrate artificial intelligence into their weapons. For this reason, the report further stresses the need for the U.S. air force capability to be faster and smarter, adding this technology will bring higher speed and more accuracy in every mission. Signed by David L. Goldfein, the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, the report mentions four areas that the U.S. Department of Defense will concentrate on for AI defense strategy. The first of these are the signs that the air force will cooperate more with private companies. The report says the federal government will collaborate with top-notch technology vendors, both internally and externally, and create models that are commercially accepted and built concerning the supply chain security. The second point is that data means everything for AI and that AI algorithms should be trained constantly with the data. The report also points to the almost simultaneous data flow to the algorithms for the success of this technology in operations, as well as the need to use it instantly in operation and to ensure the continuous development of the algorithm.

Democratic process

The third and most crucial point is to make algorithms that provide AI solutions publicly available while achieving these solutions. While emphasizing that the technologies that are supported by the private sector in accordance with U.S. laws will be open to the public and that these technologies can be used by competing countries, the responsibility of using this technology and the purpose of developing this technology will be a strategic necessity, thus the urgency of a fast purchase and sales process.

The fourth article in the report, on the other hand, answers another serious question. Will robots replace soldiers? The U.S. Air Force believes personnel will be able to learn the skills needed to use this technology and that the adaptation of the new technologies for personnel use will constitute the biggest challenge within the command. However, the machines will not replace people, the report specifically states. If used correctly, this technology will enrich the workforce, solve complex equations and allow decision-makers to make decisions on proven data. Thus, it is stated that military personnel will be able to concentrate on more complex tasks such as critical thinking.

*Şule Güner

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