Victorian-era tech to reduce smartphone distraction while driving


Victorian-era tech to reduce smartphone distraction while driving

Nissan in Great Britain has adopted an idea that is almost 200 years old in order to combat the issue of mobile phone distraction in the car.

They have created a concept solution for reducing smartphone distraction while behind the wheel of your car.

The Nissan Signal Shield is a prototype compartment made into the arm rest of the car that is lined with a Faraday cage.

A Faraday cage or Faraday shield is an enclosure used to block electromagnetic fields.

The Faraday shield is a conductive material mesh cage, usually best used with aluminium mesh which can shield electromagnetic radiation and other waves from escaping from the mesh cage when the device is totally encased within the shield.

Faraday cages are named after the English scientist Michael Faraday, who invented them in 1836.

Once a mobile device is placed in the compartment and the lid closed, the Signal Shield creates a ‘silent zone’, blocking all of the phone’s incoming and outgoing cellular, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections.

This will basically give the driver the choice to not be distracted by their mobile device and also eliminating the temptation to use their phone while driving.

Everyday, there are millions of text messages, social media notifications and app alerts that are ‘pushed’ to smartphones and these can be quite distracting while driving.

The number of drivers admitting to using their mobile phone or other devices in the car has increased from 8% in 2014 to 31% in 2016, according to the RAC in the UK.

If we are honest, many of us are habitually more tempted to check text messages and notifications straight away as they appear on our phone’s screen and if we are driving checking messages and notifications can be very dangerous.

In their own research, Nissan found that almost one in five drivers (18%) admitted to texting behind the wheel.

The mobile signal shield may be an option for some as at the moment all Nissan crossovers come with Bluetooth connectivity which allows drivers to make and receive hands-free phone calls when it is safe to do so.

Nissan also have their own proprietary system called NissanConnect, or Apple CarPlay on the all-new Nissan Micra which enables even more integration with a phone’s apps.

The Nissan Signal Shield can provide optional connectivity, giving drivers the choice between being able to contact and be contacted on the road, creating a ‘phone-free’ space and time.

The new concept will still allow the driver to use their device to play music or podcasts through their car’s entertainment system via the USB or auxiliary ports so the device will still maintain wired connectivity even when in the Nissan Signal Shield compartment.

When the driver needs to restore the phone’s wireless connections, all the driver has to do is open the armrest to reveal the compartment which can be done without taking eyes off the road and the phone can reconnect with the mobile network and the car’s Bluetooth system.

The managing director of Nissan Motor GB, Alex Smith said:
“Nissan produces some of the safest cars on the road today, but we are always looking at new ways to improve the well-being 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.”

[caption id="attachment_3778" align="alignnone" width="819"] A crude example of how a Faraday with electromagnetic devices inside. Signals cannot enter or escape the cage[/caption]

RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said:
“Our research shows that handheld phone use by drivers has reached epidemic proportions. As mobile phone technology has advanced significantly many people have become addicted to them.

“However, the use of a handheld phone when driving represents both a physical and mental distraction and it has been illegal since 2003.

“The Nissan Signal Shield is a good example of a technology that can help drivers be phone smart. For those who can’t avoid the temptation, this simple but pretty clever tech gives them a valuable mobile-free zone.

“We are asking all drivers to make a personal commitment not to use a handheld phone at the wheel by visiting and sharing their promise with their friends and family.”

[caption id="attachment_3777" align="alignnone" width="822"] The Faraday shields what is inside from electric fields outside.[/caption]