As other car brands aim to simplify hands-free cellphone use, Nissan has a different approach to help curb those dangerous texting and driving habits – blocking cellphone signals altogether.
Nissan’s new Signal Shield prototype is essentially a Faraday cage built inside the 2017 Juke’s armrest.
Named after its inventor, 19th century English scientist Michael Faraday, a Faraday cage is an enclosure made to block electromagnetic fields. With Nissan’s application of the technology, drivers can place their smartphones inside the bin to prevent themselves from receiving any cellular, Bluetooth or WiFi signals.
The concept is simple, and Nissan attempts to make it easy for drivers to connect and disconnect their phones from the outside world by requiring the compartment to be fully closed to work. Lift up the lid and your phone will resume working. In addition, drivers’ phones are not rendered completely useless while inside the armrest as they can still play music from them via a USB or auxiliary cord.
“Nissan produces some of the safest cars on the road today, but we are always looking at new ways to improve the wellbeing of our customers,” says Alex Smith, Managing Director of Nissan GB. “The Nissan Signal Shield concept presents one possible solution for giving drivers the choice to remove all smartphone distractions while driving.”
While Nissan should be commended for their effort to combat one of the largest hazards on today’s roads, the greater challenge will be actually getting drivers on board. Although the device does eliminate the distracting sounds of text notifications, its use ultimately requires the same discipline needed for simply putting your phone on “do not disturb.”
Although statistics show how well aware U.S. drivers are of the dangers of texting while driving, they also show how high of a percentage choose to do so anyways. A 2014 study from the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction found that 98 percent of the 1,000 people it surveyed agreed that looking at a phone while driving is dangerous, but 74 percent admitted to doing it anyway.
The Signal Shield is still in the prototype stage and a decision has yet to be made on if it will ever reach production. Even if Nissan has missed the mark with this latest idea, kudos to the automaker for at least attempting to tackle the issue.