“Distracted driving” is an issue automakers are no longer able to ignore. Especially after this agency revealed just how many drivers check their smartphones during driving, texting or answering calls. So Toyota has been investing millions of dollars in research that would assess drivers’ alertness and Nissan has just announced Signal Shield, a sort of cage for smartphones #mobilemagic
Before you raise your eyebrow any higher, let us explain. In fact, Nissan’s idea to keep drivers from looking at their phones during the drive is a black box which blocks electromagnetic signals like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular signals. This “cage” is only a prototype at the moment but the car maker might install it in a Nissan Juke as a safe device from the get-go. Presumably, drivers who are easily distracted by notifications and calls will choose to put their phone in the box and stay safe behind the wheel. Here, smartphones will lose all their power; they won’t have cellular signal to receive calls, texts or any kind of communication.
Obviously, Nissan isn’t the inventor of this concept. Michael Faraday came up with the Faraday cage two centuries ago; now, such cages are used in digital forensics and medicine (the scan room of an MRI machine is similarly designed).
The Signal Shield is a cute idea, but questionable in the same time. Is such a device really useful to users? I mean, if we really want to avoid temptation, we can just as easily turn our phones off when we go behind the wheel or simply enable Airplane mode. No matter the car we’re driving. Plus, some smartphones have another mode, Do not disturb. That mode works perfect when we want to know who has been trying to call us, in case of an emergency.
Still, nice try, Nissan. If your little black box saves lives, we’re all for it.
— NissanUK (@NissanUK) May 3, 2017