Teknofest beats all expectations, sees all-time high turnout

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 24.09.2019 00:11

Turkey's largest technology and aerospace festival was visited by a total of 1.72 million people, an all-time high.

In a statement released yesterday, Teknofest Istanbul said it enjoyed an influx of large crowds from Sept. 17 to Sept. 22.

With the latest figures, Teknofest Istanbul cemented its place among the top industry events in the world.

Co-organized by the Turkish Technology Team Foundation (T3) and the Industry and Technology Ministry, the festival enjoyed an influx of primarily young people, as well as science and technology enthusiasts and visitors from all segments of society, from all professions and from all age groups and social environments.

The festival managed to beat all previous expectations. Last year's premier hosted by the new Istanbul Airport, was visited by over half a million people. This year, attendance was expected to double.

The festival featured numerous activities and competitions such as aviation shows, seminars, workshops, a drone championship, contests and concerts. Visitors to the festival, including students of all ages, flocked to also take part in tech company activities to experience augmented reality, coding and digital technologies.

There were different levels of technology competitions, starting from primary school to university. Competitors competed in 19 categories ranging from aviation to automotive, from artificial intelligence (AI) to simulations, and from Underwater Autonomous Vehicles to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and more.

This year, Teknofest has broken a record with nearly 17,400 teams and 2,000 finalists, 50,000 contestant applications and 10,000 finalists in all 81 provinces of Turkey and 122 countries.

The event gave away over TL 3 million in prize money for young technology talents.

Visitors had plenty to see, from UAVs, AI software, civil and military aircraft, to weapons, rockets, flying cars, unmanned vessels, robots, autonomous and electric cars, engines and communication systems.

Leading unmanned aerial platform and UAV developer Baykar Makina showcased its latest armed drone Akıncı, an upgraded version of the company's trademark platform Bayraktar TB2 armed drone, for the first time in public.

Dubbed "the flying fish," the Akıncı drone is an important step for Baykar to upgrade its UAV technology and has attracted a great deal of attention during the six-day event. The Akinci with nearly 1.5 tons of load can fly at an operational altitude of 40,000 feet and stay in the air for 24 hours.

The drone has just recently completed its first engine test and is expected to officially start serving Turkish security forces in 2020. Akıncı is expected to carry out its first flight in October.

On the other hand, Baykar Makina's high-tech flying car prototype also made its debut in public at the Teknofest. The country's first indigenous flying car, Cezeri, was produced in a lightning-fast nine months. Cezeri can currently carry one person but its next version will have room for more. The vehicle is to be used for urban transportation in the future.

Among others, one of Turkey's largest commercial and defense vehicle producer BMC displayed its newest armored pickup vehicle, which was named Tulga after company officials asked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to name the vehicle after a test drive on Saturday. The company aims to develop at least seven different models of the vehicle.

Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) exhibited a mockup of the National Combat Aircraft (MMU) for the first time in Turkey at the event.

The mock-up of the fifth-generation MMU was unveiled at this year's Paris Air Show.

The company showcased a number of other national projects that have attracted a lot of local and international attention. The HÜRKUŞ training aircraft performed demonstration flights at the festival. The event will also featured aircraft like the locally-developed T625 multipurpose helicopter Gökbey, the UAVs ANKA and Aksungur, jet training and light attack aircraft Hürjet and the ATAK II, an upgraded version of Turkey's first home-grown T129 Advanced Attack and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter (ATAK). Having attracted a great deal of attention, ATAK performed a popular "Harmandalı" dance on the sidelines of event.

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