Nissan adopts Victorian-era tech to reduce smartphone distraction
As part of efforts to tackle the ‘growing problem’ of smartphone usage by drivers, Nissan has designed an in-car compartment that blocks all cellular, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals.
Launched yesterday (3 May), the Nissan Signal Shield is a prototype compartment within the armrest of a Nissan Juke that is lined with a Faraday cage, an invention used to block electromagnetic fields which dates back to the 1830s.
Once a mobile device is placed in the compartment and the lid closed, the shield creates a ‘silent zone’, blocking all of the phone’s incoming and outgoing cellular, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections.
The concept is designed to ‘give drivers a choice’ about whether to eliminate the distractions caused by the millions of text messages, social media notifications and app alerts that are ‘pushed’ to smartphones each day.
The product has been backed by the RAC, who describes it is a ‘good example’ of technology that can help drivers be phone smart.
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If drivers want to listen to music or podcasts stored on their smartphone, they can still connect to the car’s entertainment system via the USB or auxiliary ports. The device will maintain wired connectivity even when in the Nissan Signal Shield compartment.
To restore the phone’s wireless connections, drivers just need to open the armrest to reveal the compartment – which can be done without taking eyes off the road or touching the phone itself – and the phone can reconnect with the mobile network and the car’s Bluetooth system.
Alex Smith, managing director of Nissan GB, said: “The Nissan Signal Shield concept presents one possible solution for giving drivers the choice to remove all smartphone distractions while driving. This is about delivering more control at the wheel, not less.
“Some drivers are immune to the activity of their smartphone, but for those who struggle to ignore the beeps and pings, this concept provides a simple solution in this very ‘connected’ world we live in.”
Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesman, said: “The Nissan Signal Shield is a good example of a technology that can help drivers be phone smart. For those who can’t avoid the temptation, this simple but pretty clever tech gives them a valuable mobile-free zone.
“We are asking all drivers to make a personal commitment not to use a handheld phone at the wheel by visiting www.bephonesmart.uk and sharing their promise with their friends and family.”
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