Renault introduces ZE-ready concept with drone Flying Companion; targeting new markets
5 February 2014
|The KWID CONCEPT comes with a Flying Companion drone stored on the roof. Click to enlarge.|
Renault unveiled the KWID CONCEPT at the Delhi Auto Show—the first Renault concept car unveiled outside Europe. The KWID CONCEPT features a “Flying Companion”—a small drone that can be operated in one of two modes. Automatic mode uses a pre-programmed flying sequence and GPS location; manual mode enables the companion to be controlled using a dashboard-integrated tablet.
The Flying Companion is the first of its kind in the automotive world. It takes off from the rotating rear portion of the KWID CONCEPT’s roof. Renault suggests that the Flying Companion could be used for a variety of purposes, including scouting traffic, taking landscape pictures and detecting obstacles on the road ahead.
|KWID Concept. Click to enlarge.|
The KWID CONCEPT is powered by the latest-generation downsized 1.2-liter gasoline turbocharged engine mated to dual-clutch transmission EDC. The KWID CONCEPT is also Z.E ready—being pre-disposed to receive batteries for electric use—and comes with a charging plug behind the Renault logo.
Other features include an electric front bench seat on a center rail, electric opening doors, LED lighting, lack of gearshift (command with touches next to the steering). The vertically-mounted TFT touchscreen display acts as the dashboard in the KWID CONCEPT and also provides access to connected services.
The vehicle comes with a two-wheel drive transmission, but projects the facade of an off-road car.
The KWID CONCEPT was designed with inputs from Renault Design India and is covered by the ‘Explore’ petal of Renault’s lifecycle-based design strategy. The vehicle’s proportions and dimensions as well as very short overhangs give the impression of a bouncing vehicle, while its oversized wheels protrude past the fenders and make the KWID CONCEPT look like a buggy car.
A multinational concept car, the KWID CONCEPT is the first of its kind in Renault to target new markets. Renault Designers around the world cooperated to conceive a vehicle made for local markets and designed to meet the latters’ needs.
The interior of the vehicle was designed by François Grenier (Technocentre Design, France) based on original drawings by Mishu Batra (Renault Design India); the exterior by Anton Shamenkov (of Russian origins, Technocentre Design, France) based on original drawings by Jean Semeriva (Studio Design Brazil). The colors and materials of the vehicle were worked upon by Neha Lad (Indian trainee, Technocentre Design) and developed by Chie Yanagisawa (Japanese designer, Technocentre Design). Axel Breun (Technocentre Design) was the overall Project Manager.
Customers in new markets are much younger. Their expectations are different and customers are basically gamers. They tend to take a closer interest in technology and want to enjoy themselves. 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 in the long automotive history we can drive on earth with an eye in the sky. It’s an amazing feature!—Serge Mouangue, Brand Manager and Innovative Cooperative Laboratory Manager
The reveal of the KWID CONCEPT also emphasizes India’s significant place in Renault’s global strategy as well as the company’s ability to offer appealing products in the compact car segment.
This is the first time we have chosen to reveal a concept car outside Europe and this is an eloquent sign of our commitment to India. Young customers in India are often trend setters, looking forward to pushing the envelope when it comes to technology and enjoyable drives. The KWID CONCEPT, with its Flying Companion, meets this forward-looking spirit with both its dynamic styling and hyper connectivity.—Gilles Normand, Chairman of Asia-Pacific Region, Renault S.A.S.
The KWID CONCEPT is also tailored specifically to meet the needs of Indian drivers. The vehicle is a compact five-seater to enable family trips, a common occurrence in India. The multimedia dashboard, along with the Flying Companion, answers the young and modern Indian need to stay connected, with a strong attempt for technology. The vehicle’s lightweight interior design is also adapted to warm weather conditions.
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