Called the Nissan Signal Shield, it’s a prototype compartment on the Nissan Juke which works on the principle of the Faraday cage – an enclosure made of a conductive material, such as wire mesh, which blocks electromagnetic fields.
It is named after the pioneering English scientist Michael Faraday, who invented it in the 1830s.
When an electronic device, like a smartphone, is placed inside, any incoming electromagnetic signals – such as cellular, Bluetooth, WiFi – are distributed across the cage’s external conducting material and so prevented from reaching the device.
However, 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.
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.
It’s a growing problem with the number of drivers admitting to handling their phone in the car having increased from 8% in 2014 to 31% in 2016, according to the RAC.
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%) admitted to having texted behind the wheel.
Says Alex Smith, Managing Director, Nissan Motor GB Ltd:
“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. 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.”
“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.”
You can see a video about the Nissan signal shield here: