Sam Philip06 February 2014

This Renault has a roof-mounted drone

Kwid design study might look cute, but in its roof lurks automated military hardware

Drones. Now we come to think of it, that's what every car on sale is lacking: a hovering, near-silent autobot capable of hunting down insurgents, or covertly spying on missile launch sites.

Until now. This is the Renault Kwid, the first car in the world to boast a roof-mounted drone.

Like the Datsun Redi-Go, the Kwid is also an SUV concept unveiled at the Delhi show, and also aims to woo the Indian yoof. Unlike the Redi-Go, however, the Kwid takes things in a far more sinister, spy-plane direction.

Renault says the ‘Flying Companion', which takes off on its missions from the rotating rear portion of the Kwid's roof, can be flown manually from a tablet inside the car, or will operate its own pre-programmed flight sequence.

Renault suggests the Flying Companion could be used for "scouting traffic, taking landscape pictures and detecting obstacles on the road ahead". Top Gear suspects its true purposes may be far more nefarious.

It's not explained what sort of super-human you'd have to be to simultaneously operate a moving motor vehicle and flying drone, but Renault has thoughtfully fitted the Kwid with a double-clutch transmission to at least leave you with a left leg free for drone-operation duties.

The concept features a 1.2-litre turbo petrol driving the front wheels, but Renault describes it as ‘ready for electric use'. We presume this translates as ‘batteries not included'.

We're told the Kwid's design could hint at the styling of the next-gen Dacia Duster. We suspect, however, the MkII Duster won't feature scissor doors or three-across-the-front seating.

Nor, we must pray, roof-mounted autonomous military hardware. Not Good News at all.

To see a drone can do when fitted with a video camera rather than, say, lethal laser-cannon, take a look at this awesome heli-footage from TopGear's 2013 Speed Week...

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