Nissan is trying to help curb texting and driving using an old, yet simple solution. They’re testing out a specially designed center console that blocks all signals to your phone once you drop it in and close the lid.
Distracted driving is a huge problem. The more connected we get, the more we disconnect with what’s around us. Carmakers are working to try and keep people paying attention and to help keep us all safe. Cars keep getting better at letting your phone work with them, helping you keep your hands at 10 and two and your eyes on the road, but it’s not always enough.
Integration apps like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can already connect to your phone and will read you a text and let you dictate a reply. The apps will even let you operate the navigation system and control the radio with your voice. A few cars even let you adjust the climate control without reaching down.
But for some people, it’s still not enough. If your phone buzzes, you pick it up. The temptation doesn’t go away, and social media accounts aren’t integrated into the dash just yet. Plus some research shows that even using your phone hands-free can still be distracting.
So Nissan UK has cut out the temptation entirely. They’ve built a Faraday cage into the console. A Faraday cage uses a conductive material, like wire mesh, to block out electromagnetic waves like cell phone signals. The Faraday cage was invented by Michael Faraday back in 1836, and shields everything inside from electromagnetic fields on the outside.
Nissan calls their design Signal Shield, and they’ve built a prototype into a 2017 Nissan Juke. Drop your phone in, close the lid, and your phone has no reception. Simple as that. If you have it connected to the car via USB, then you can still play music or podcasts, as long as they are already on your device.
Open the lid, and your phone starts working again. You don’t need to remember change modes yourself like you would by using the phone’s airplane mode.
It’s a bit of a brute force method, blocking reception entirely, but it’s a simple one. And one that’s easy to remember for drivers, meaning that it might be more likely to work. But this is still just a prototype, meaning that it might not make production for a few years, if ever. Until then, put your phone away when you’re behind the wheel.
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