(Phys.org) —French multinational vehicle maker Renault has unveiled a concept car called the Kwid, which among other things, boasts a camera equipped drone that lives in a hanger on the roof—when needed it could be launched to allow for viewing nearby terrain from an airborne position.
Anyone who has ever driven a car has at one time or another found themselves in a jam without little to no information as to its cause. Many have likely even imagined being able to fly up above the ruckus to see what's going on. With a drone, drivers could do just that. In the Kwid design, the drone works in two modes: automatic or manual. In automatic mode, the drone would launch and fly without assistance to a prescribed GPS point, hover and then return. In manual mode, the driver (or better yet a passenger) could steer the drone using a touchpad on the car's console.
Clearly such a drone could serve many other purposes, such as scouting the neighborhood to find someone waiting, offering directions when GPS or Google just won't do (such as when going off-road), or even as a means of providing a better view of exotic locales. It's not difficult to imagine consumers wanting such an option—what's more difficult to envision is government allowing them to fly in such unrestricted fashion.
The quadcopter drone has been outfitted to match the trimmings of the Kwid car—both are grey-metallic colored with yellow trimming. Renault unveiled the concept car at the ongoing New Dehli Auto Expo—it's aimed at young people in that country who are looking for an inexpensive yet hip automobile. Its compact "chunky" design is meant to provide a good option for navigating sometimes less than well maintained roadways. The car has front wheel drive and a very tiny—gas sipping—1.2-liter engine, and oddly is made to carry three people up front and two in the back—perhaps a nod to Indian cultural trends among young people.
As part of the unveiling, Renault reps told those admiring the concept car that it could possibly be made as an all-electric vehicle, as well, though it's not clear yet if the company plans to actually make the car at all, and if so, if it would really ship with a companion drone.
Explore further: Gates working on Personal Agent project with Microsoft