A NORTH-EAST vehicle manufacturer has developed a compartment that blocks mobile phone signals. The prototype Signal Shield has been developed and tested in the United Kingdom by Nissan GB on one of its Jukes with a view to it becoming an in-car option.
The Signal Shield consists of a Faraday cage - essentially a metal mesh - embedded in the central storage area of a Nissan Juke. And while the Shield blocks Bluetooth signals as well as cellular networks, if a driver has connected their phone to the Juke's Bluetooth, simply opening the central cubby will see it reconnected. It thinks that distracted driving can be prevented by making it impossible for the driver to use their smartphone when they're behind the wheel.
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. Created by Nissan, the Signal Shield uses 19th century technology to solve a 21st century motoring problem.
RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: "Our research shows that handheld phone use by drivers has reached epidemic proportions". With the lid closed, your phone won't receive texts, calls or notifications that might distract you. Nissan's own research found nearly one in five drivers (18%) admitted to having texted behind the wheel.
Playing back content should be no problem, as the Nissan Signal Shield gives the option for the driver to playback music from a USB port or auxiliary. 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 objective.
The Nissan Signal Shield concept provides optional connectivity, giving drivers the choice between being able to contact and be contacted from the road, or creating a "phone-free" space and time.
However, when your phone is turned off you don't have access to your music or podcasts, something which will still be possible using the Signal Shield as it would still allow you to connect to the car's entertainment system using a wired connection.