İrfan Aloğlu

İrfan Aloğlu serves as the Team Leader of OPINA. He brings over 30 years of management experience from the automotive sector where he served both OEMs and suppliers as a high level manager and managing director. His areas of expertise are product development, R&D, business development and plant and production management, both in local and international markets. Holding a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Boğaziçi University, İrfan has completed the Marmara University Contemporary Business Management Program, Koc Group IDEA Management Development Program, German VDA 6.3 Auditor Program, VCA ISO 9001 Assessment Certificate Program and many other training programs.

Ramu Motukuri

Ramu Motukuri serves as the Software Leader of OPINA. He has over 18 years of industry experience in the areas of Automotive Embedded software development and testing technology, working in the product domain areas of powertrain, braking, steering, ADAS and body control systems. Ramu has served in many roles from software engineer to program manager throughout his career. He holds a Bachelor of Technology in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University and a post graduate diploma in Project Management and PMP certification from PMI. He has extensive knowledge on software development and testing in the area of algorithm development, applications development, communication protocols, diagnostics, RTOS, AUTOSAR, ISO26262, MISRA, MATLAB/SIMULINK tools usage for algorithm development, MIL and SIL simulation, and HIL testing with Labcar and dSpace environments. He brings with him industry experience from Bosch India, TCS, iGate and Tech Mahindra.

Harun Buğra Sağlam

Buğra Saglam joins OPINA as a Supply Expert and has 15 years of experience in embedded systems, which are mainly system development and integration projects in automotive and aviation. He has extensive knowledge about system design and architecture, development, and functional safety. After graduating from the Electrical-Electronics Engineering Department from Middle East Technical University (ODTU), he completed a Master’s degree in Engineering Management and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering with a focus on Platooning of Autonomous Vehicles.

S. Çağlar Başlamışlı

S. Çağlar Başlamışlı joins OPINA as a Automotive Systems Testing Expert and brings over 21 years of experience in mechanical engineering. He is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering in Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey and is the General Manager of Versus Engineering, a company active in system modeling and control design for automotive systems. Çağlar’s current research interests include vehicle design, electric and hybrid vehicles, vehicle dynamics simulation and control, and testing of autonomous vehicles. In 1999, he graduated from the Department of Mechanical Engineering in Middle East Technical University (ODTU) and received a M.Sc. from the same department in 2001. In 2007, Cağlar was awarded a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Boğaziçi University.

İsmail Bayezit

İsmail Bayezit joins OPINA as a Supply Expert and brings over 14 years of experience in advanced vehicle technologies. He is currently an Assistant Professor and Vice-Chair at the Department of Aeronautics Engineering. He has worked on many private sector and academic projects on vehicle dynamics modelling and control, real-time autonomous software development, automation and control of aerial and marine systems, model based software designs and testing of cars. His current research interests include vehicle dynamics simulation, collaborative and connected systems, intelligent transportation systems, and developing model based software and hardware design and validation strategies for autonomous platforms. İsmail received his B.EEng. and Master’s degree in Electronics and Electrical Engineering from Istanbul Technical University (ITU) and was awarded his Ph.D. in Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering from the University of Waterloo.

Klaus Werner Schmidt

Klaus Werner Schmidt joins OPINA as a Vehicle Dynamics and Simulation Expert. He is currently a Professor with the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Middle East Technical University, Ankara. His research interests include control for autonomous vehicles, industrial communication networks, intelligent transportation systems, supervisory control for discrete event systems, industrial automation systems and industrial project control. He currently also serves as an Associate Editor for the journal of Discrete Event Dynamic Systems. Klaus received his B.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical, electronic, and communication engineering from the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany, in 2002 and 2005, respectively.

Ümit Özgüner

He joined the OPINA Project in 2023 as a Senior Vehicle Technology Expert. His responsibilities include the establishment of the sensor and information architecture of the vehicles to be used for experiments and education. He will furthermore be developing the environment within the vehicles for autonomous behavior.

Professor Emeritus Umit Ozguner is a graduate of Istanbul Technical University and received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois. He has been working at the Ohio State University since 1981 and is a well-known expert on Intelligent Vehicles and Intelligent Transportation Systems. He has had a career of over 40 years contributing to various aspects of IV and ITS, as a researcher, educator and through his service to the ITS community.

He has been author or co-author of more than 500 publications which have had over 19,000 citations. He holds the title of “Fellow” in IEEE for his “contributions to the theory and practice of autonomous ground vehicles” and is the (founding) Editor in Chief of the IEEE ITS Society, Transactions on Intelligent Vehicles. He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the IEEE ITS Society.

Erdem Kaya

Erdem Kaya acts as the Key Intellectual Property Expert of the OPINA project. He was born in 1978 in Izmir. He graduated from Uludağ University Electronics Engineering Department in 1999. He became a Turkish and European patent attorney in 2001 and a Turkish trademark attorney in 2005. He is the founder of Erdem Kaya Patent, one of the respected IP consultancy firms of Turkey, with a team of more than 45 IP professionals. Throughout his professional life, he and his team have provided IP consultancy services to many institutions including well-known technology/industry companies and universities of Turkey, on the strategic management of intellectual property rights in a wide scope ranging from registration to valuation, and provided basic or advanced trainings to thousands of people in this field. Mr. Kaya was also the president of the International Patent Union (UPB) for 2 terms, where he carried out projects aimed at increasing IP awareness of the society and expertness level of IP professionals in Turkey. He is also among the partners of Sistem Global Consulting, Inc., which provides services to technology-oriented companies in areas such as tax consultancy, compliance management and access to incentives/supports with its team of +450 people. Finally, Mr. Kaya is a licensed angel investor and member of the world’s leading IP organizations such as EPI, LES, AIPPI and Turkey’s prominent business organizations such as TÜGİAD and BUSİAD.

Oya Özarslan

Oya Özarslan joins OPINA as a Legal and Intellectual Property Management Expert, bringing to the team more than 20 years of experience, qualified as both a Turkish and US attorney (New York Bar) and certified by CCEP-I (Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional-International) as an International Compliance Professional. She advises clients on corporate, insurance services and compliance matters and has acted on numerous significant transactions in Turkey as well as across the wider EMEA region. Her compliance work is focused on business integrity and data privacy. She has created compliance tools that are widely used in the private sector and has authored a number of publications. She is experienced in fraud investigations and establishing integrity infrastructures, as well as ethics and compliance training and preparation of ethics programs for corporations. In her capacity as an international governance expert, Oya co-chaired the G20 Governance Task Force during the presidency of the Republic of Turkey and has been involved in Turkey’s country review processes for the EU, UNCAC, OECD Conventions and GRECO. Oya has acted as a key expert in EU technical assistance projects for developing ethics codes and performing comparative analysis with ethical standards in EU countries. She has also been a key expert for an EU project tasked with analysing corruption prone industries and transactions with higher corruption risks. She sits on the International Board of Directors of Transparency International, where she serves as a Chair of Board’s Ethics Committee and a member of Governance Committees and is the Chair of Transparency International Turkey. Oya holds a LL.B. from the faculty of Law at Ankara University and a LL.M. from the School of Law at the University of Texas at Austin.

Sinan Tandoğan

Sinan Tandoğan joins OPINA as a senior innovation specialist. He has more than 40 years of professional experience on business development, start-up and SME support, entrepreneurship, innovation management and finance, software engineering, graduate teaching and academic research.

He worked as the Entrepreneurship Support Coordinator at TUBITAK TEYDEB between 2006-2020. He worked there as the Program Manager of “1601 SME Support Program for Capacity Building in Innovation and Entrepreneurship”, “BiGG-Entrepreneurship Multi-phased Support Program” and Program Coordinator of GEF-UNIDO CleanTech Turkey Program. He also acted as the steering committee member of several European ERANET projects including Electro-Mobility Europe and M.Era-Net. He regularly participates in evaluation and review processes for the European Framework Programs as an external expert since 2012.

Dr. Tandoğan established a pioneer start-up on data communication in the early 1980s and later worked as a Telecom Software Engineer in USA, Norway and Germany. In 1995, he founded one of the first Internet service providers in Turkey, KilimNet and founded and managed a consultant firm, K-NET, on Internet infrastructure and information security.

He teaches graduate courses on research commercialization, public R&D policies and evaluation methodologies at Middle East Technical University (METU) and conducts research on these areas. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electronic Engineering in METU and he received his Ph.D. from Science and Technology Policy Studies in METU.

İffet İyigün Meydanlı

İffet İyigün Meydanlı joins OPINA as a Senior Business Development Expert. She has 30 years of total experience as R&D Engineer, Team Leader, R&D System Development Manager, Innovation Manager, Innovation Director, and Innovation Consultant.

As R&D Manager, she had responsibilities on program management, R&D funding coordination and technology management practices.  As Innovation Manager in a large-scale home appliance company, she had initiated open innovation activities (including start-up ecosystem development, international collaborations) and an intrapreneurship program.  In addition, establishment of innovation strategies and methodologies throughout the company was within her responsibility area.  During establishing an innovation directorate in an automotive supplier manufacturer, she restructured the R&D, innovation activities and expanded the activities including mobility and Industry 4.0 technologies.

In the last 15 years, she led 8 R&D Centers establishment, more than 10+ EU funded projects initiation.  10 years’ experience on start-up mentoring and innovation ecosystem development, and 40+ SME digital transformation roadmap development under TÜBİTAK-TÜSSİDE digital transformation program.  Extensive experience on road mapping methodology implementation and innovation management practices in different industries including home appliance, automotive, chemicals.

Tom Weber

Tom Weber holds a Master’s degree in Communications Engineering from TUM, one of the top three universities in Germany. After working in technical and strategic marketing in the 1990s, he took on managing director positions in SMEs, larger companies as well as start-ups, which took him to several European countries, including Sweden, France and the UK. In Bavaria, he founded and built up a small number of clusters. He currently works as a freelance strategic consultant for companies in the field of electrical and mechanical engineering. Within OPINA, he takes on the role of Senior Business Development Expert for Europe.

Can Köstepen

Can Köstepen is a consultant in EU policies with over 10 years of professional experience in the implementation of European Structural Funds as well as projects funded under EuropeAid. As a consultant and project manager, he has worked in Turkey, Kosovo, and North Macedonia and took part in the monitoring and evaluation of EU projects in terms of compliance, financial management and project progression in Scotland. He has significant experience in the organisation of public information and awareness events on EU funding and grants schemes.