Renault's KWID Concept comes with its own Flying Companion quadcopter
February 10, 2014
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."