Renault's KWID Concept comes with its own Flying Companion quadcopter


February 10, 2014

KWID's Flying Companion acts like a recon drone in auto mode or can be manipulated from inside the cabin via a dash-mounted tablet

KWID's Flying Companion acts like a recon drone in auto mode or can be manipulated from inside the cabin via a dash-mounted tablet

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Looking like a cross between a full-scale toy and a lunar buggy, Renault’s new KWID Concept features a twist that could either be a flight of fancy or a glimpse of the future – the world’s first built-in quadcopter.

Unveiled at the New Delhi Auto Show, the KWID Concept was tailored to meet the needs of Indian drivers, with room for five-passengers and an interior designed to work better in warmer climates. As part of Renault’s lifecycle-based design program, in this case the "Explore" petal, the KWID Concept is designed to be converted to full electric drive with ease. Conventional power comes in the form of a 1.2 liter turbocharged engine, mated up to a dual clutch transmission. Although the concept looks all-wheel-drive-capable, it is in fact only two-wheel drive.

The KWID Concept’s bird-nest interior is a mix of two-tone elastomer straps laid out over a solid white bench. The KWID's center-positioned driver’s seat insert, flanked by set-back passenger seats, comes off as an afterthought, but isn’t just an aesthetic decision; it also allows the KWID to play in both left and right side drive countries without reconfiguration. On the back of the driver’s seat are AC controls that provide air to passengers via concentric perforations around the system.

KWID’s dashboard features a center-mounted, open-ended steering wheel with gold/grey accents and LED display screen. The narrow vertically-mounted TFT touchscreen provides the vehicle’s primary dash information, and also access to connected services.

To the left of the steering wheel, an integrated console manages KWID’s unique selling proposition – the one of a kind built-in Flying Companion. The proprietary quadcopter, hidden beneath a rear pivoting roof section, is a world first feature that can be operated remotely from inside the cockpit.

In automatic mode, the Flying Companion can be run through a programmed flying sequence using GPS coordinates, or in manual mode can be driven by passengers inside the car via an integrated tablet. Although what may appear gimmicky at first, the Flying Companion’s ability to scout traffic, road conditions, or surroundings while taking photographs makes it a viable idea for future designs.

Stylistically, the KWID’s proportional discrepancies and bulbous design elements make it hard to take seriously. Dihedral doors, oversized fenders, color-keyed wheels and a visor-like cabin treatment ensure the KWID’s place as one of the more interesting concepts to be revealed of late. The excess design treatments are all in good fun as part of Renault’s marketing strategy.

"Customers in new markets are much younger," says Serge Mouangue, Brand Manager and Innovative Cooperative Laboratory Manager for Renault. "Their expectations are different and customers are basically gamers. This concept car meets those needs in a variety of ways, but mainly thanks to the Flying Companion which makes driving both safe and fun. This is the very first time we can drive with an eye in the sky."

Source: Renault

About the Author
Angus MacKenzie Born on the cold, barren Canadian plains of Calgary, Alberta, Angus MacKenzie couldn’t decide between marketing, automotives or an entrepreneurial path - so he chose all three. With an education in automotives and marketing, Angus has rebuilt the carburetor on his 1963 Rambler Ambassador twice, gotten a speeding ticket in an F430 once, and driven & photographed everything from Lamborghinis to Maseratis to various German and Asian designs. When not writing, Angus has for the past six years been Editor-in-Chief for elemente, an internationally recognized architecture/design magazine. All articles by Angus MacKenzie

What happens in highspeed, high wind, or bad weather conditions? Will the drone refuse to deploy? Granted your own built in drone is fun, wouldn't a periscope be more practical? Or Waze!?!?!

John Lacson

I think it is way cool. I hope they make it or something that is very similar. If they do make it, it would definitely be on my list of top ten coolest cars.

I think that would be cool as a hybrid, where the engine powers a generator and there is a motor in each wheel (giving it four wheel power/drive).

The drone on top reminds me of Speed Racer where there is a drone that comes out and checks things going on around the area.


It definitely should be 4WD, Big Warp Guy has the right idea, an electric motor in each hub. How about slaving the drone to fly above the car automatically, with a bigger screen? - or perhaps H.U.D. on the windscreen for instance - so the driver could see over the hill or dune in front, like a video game? Even flying high enough to see past 'blind' corners would be fantastic!

The Skud

What's the point of putting the driver in the center? All it accomplishes is to make the car feel cramped if there's anyone sitting in the passenger's seat.


With a couple of million drones flying around to see around corners...etc. how are you going to prevent collisions?


Willyt....this answers your question

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