Automotive

Nissan concept puts Faraday Cage in an armrest for incommunicado driving

Nissan concept puts Faraday Ca...
Nissan's Signal Shield concept is designed to remove smartphone distractions while driving
Nissan's Signal Shield concept is designed to remove smartphone distractions while driving
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Smartphones are convenient, but they're also hugely distracting for drivers 
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Smartphones are convenient, but they're also hugely distracting for drivers 
Nissan's design team at work on the Signal Shield concept
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Nissan's design team at work on the Signal Shield concept
The Nissan Signal Shield concept is based on the Faraday Cage
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The Nissan Signal Shield concept is based on the Faraday Cage
A phone in the Signal Shield with no service 
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A phone in the Signal Shield with no service 
Nissan suggests the Signal Shield could work as a way to cut distraction on the roads
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Nissan suggests the Signal Shield could work as a way to cut distraction on the roads
The Signal Shield, slotted into the interior of a Nissan Juke
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The Signal Shield, slotted into the interior of a Nissan Juke
Nissan's Signal Shield concept is designed to remove smartphone distractions while driving
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Nissan's Signal Shield concept is designed to remove smartphone distractions while driving

Although there are plenty of ways to avoid being distracted while driving, starting with a healthy dose of self control, Nissan has taken a no-holds barred approach to stopping smartphone communication on the move. Meet the Signal Shield concept, a Faraday Cage for the armrest of your car.

All human drivers are susceptible to distraction behind the wheel, no matter how experienced or responsible. And few things are more distracting than the buzzing, glowing little screens we carry in our pockets. According to research quoted by Nissan, more than 30 percent of drivers admitted to using their phone while driving in 2016, compared to 8 percent in 2014. The company also found that 18 percent of drivers have texted while driving.

There are plenty of ways to avoid using smartphones on the road, starting with self control. Some people flick their device to flight mode, and there are plenty of apps to automatically reply to incoming messages with a predetermined response while driving. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also work to cut distraction by putting main phone functions on the car's infotainment display, and allowing drivers to use the inbuilt voice assistant for hands-free messaging.

But Nissan has sought to remove gadget distraction completely by building a Faraday Cage for the armrest of its cars. Putting your phone into the Shield is essentially putting it in a box no electromagnetic signal can penetrate. Cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or GPS won't work while the armrest lid is closed.

The Nissan Signal Shield concept is based on the Faraday Cage
The Nissan Signal Shield concept is based on the Faraday Cage

Locking the phone away doesn't render it completely useless. Drivers are able to hook it up to the audio system using AUX or USB connections, although playing music through AUX does involve using the phone to change song, playlist or podcast. If the driver forgets to set their playlist up or wants to change their music on the fly, they're going to need to grab the phone again, which kind of defeats the purpose.

As such, we can't see this concept – as well intentioned as it may be – gaining much traction. People already know they shouldn't use their phones while driving, and even the prospect of a fine or an accident isn't enough to stop a worrying percentage of them. So the likelihood of such drivers exercising enough self control to lock their phone away for the duration of a car trip in the first place probably isn't high. Still, you have to at least give Nissan some credit for attempting to tackle the issue.

"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. 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 check the Signal Shield concept system out below.

Source: Nissan

Nissan Juke Signal Shield: Helping reduce smartphone distraction at the wheel

6 comments
highlandboy
Unless it is sound proof as well as em radiation proof, smart phones are still going to: beep for appointments and reminders, or make plenty of noise for alarms. Maybe Nissan should put the resources into self driving tech, or at least a better user interface for phone and car integration
christopher
Sounds ideal for privacy aware users (and criminals) who don't like GPS and the cell network tracking and triangulating their movements 24/7
Bob
I like the idea and I am sure it wouldn't cost much. I am sure that only a tiny percentage will use it until they remember that they are being tracked everywhere by their phones.
Wolf0579
Brilliant! Until self-driving cars are widespread, great idea, and has the bonus of making your movements invisible to the cell network.
Bricorn
How about putting a power socket in there so that it'll be fully charged when you take it out. Not seeing a signal will make most smartphones boost the gain and flatten their batteries even faster.
WarrenHarding
Or just wrap your phone in foil. As long as it's completely covered you'll get the same result.