Nissan combat phone distraction with Signal Shield concept
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Victorian invention, 21st century application. Nissan GB has adopted a technology that’s almost 200 years old to create a concept solution for reducing smartphone distraction at the wheel.
The beauty of the design is its simplicity. The Nissan Signal Shield is a prototype compartment within the arm rest of a Nissan Juke that is lined with a Faraday cage, an invention dating back to the 1830s.
Once a mobile device is placed in the compartment and the lid closed, the Nissan Signal 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.
"Mobile phone use at the wheel is a growing concern across the automotive industry, and indeed society, particularly with the high number of ‘pushed’ communications, such as texts, social media notifications and app alerts that tempt drivers to reach for their devices,” says Alex Smith, Managing Director of Nissan Motor GB.
“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.”
A growing problem, the number of drivers admitting to handling their phone in the car has increased from 8% in 2014 to 31% in 2016.
Users are becoming habitually more tempted to check text messages and notifications as they appear on their phone’s screen, even if they are driving. Nissan’s own research found almost one in five drivers (18 per cent) admitted to having texted behind the wheel.
All Nissan crossovers are available with Bluetooth connectivity to allow drivers to make and receive hands-free phone calls when it is safe to do so. NissanConnect, or Apple CarPlay on the all-new Nissan Micra, enable further integration with a phone’s apps.
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 arm rest 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.