Renault has celebrated the 60th birthday of its iconic 4 model by unveiling its first-ever flying car concept.
The AIR4 is described as a “futuristic and offbeat reinterpretation” of the 4, which sold more than eight million cars worldwide between 1961 and 1994.
“AIR4 is a symbol of independence and freedom,” says Renault, “born out of the realisation that traffic is compounding, lives are grinding to a halt, and the world above us is unhampered.”
The French carmaker collaborated with US design house TheArsenale to assemble the one-off vehicle, with design, engineering, and assembly conducted in the Sophia Antipolis technology park.
A Renault 4-inspired carbon-fibre body rests atop a four-propeller chassis, evoking the image of a giant drone. The passenger compartment has been redesigned with flight forces in mind, and hinges at the front end for pilot entry. Unlike some designs, the AIR4 lacks wheels — potentially stretching its definition as a flying car.
Power comes from several 22,000mAh batteries for a total capacity of 90,000mAh. Top speed is listed at 26m/s (about 93km/h) at a 45-degree incline, with a flight ceiling of 70 degrees. Total vectoral thrust is 380 kilograms.
Renault says TheArsenale’s Road to Air division used AI technology to refine design concepts, “even before starting the first real-world trials”. The AIR4 does appear to fly, albeit at low altitudes and presumably under remote control.
The company hasn’t revealed details on the AIR4’s controls, with little more than a single seat, tablet-like screen, and storage box visible under the bodyshell.
Despite the vehicle’s actual flight capability, it will remain a showpiece for the foreseeable future.
The AIR4 is now on display at Paris’s Atelier Renault venue. It will also be shown in Miami, New York, and Macau next year.