Nissan seems to think it will

With the current global climate and World War III seemingly around the corner, you’ve probably heard a lot of talk about Faraday cages lately. If you haven’t, you must not know a single “prepper.” You’re probably also blind to the potential chaos an EMP device could cause if detonated over our country and why this old technology could be your best friend. To put things simply, a faraday cage is a container surrounded by a continuous covering of conductive material that is also insulated on the inside. Electrical current – or in this case, cellular signals – are unable to reach any electronic device placed inside of it. So, what does this have to do with texting and driving, or Nissan? Well, Nissan has just announced a new conceptual idea known as the “Nissan Signal Shield” for the upcoming Nissan Juke that would integrate a Faraday cage into the central armrest.

The idea behind this conceptual idea is to cut back on texting and driving by preventing cellular signals from even getting to the phone in the first place. If you can’t get that text or phone call, you can’t be distracted by your phone while you drive either, right? Nissan seems to think it might be the magic trick. But it’s not all peaches and cream, even if you’re all for some phone-free time on the road. See, we’ve all come to rely on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity for things like hands-free calling or audio streaming. Some infotainment systems even allow you to use certain phone apps, including navigation, right on their built-in touchscreen. But, if you put your phone inside the Nissan Signal Shield, all of that becomes a thing of the past – electrical current or cellular signal can’t get in or out. Of course, you would still be able to stream music stored on the phone via an auxiliary cable, or in some cases, a USB cable, but you’re going to have to live without your favorite online playlists. Is it a fair tradeoff?

Continue reading for the full story.

Old Technology Creates New Solutions

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Let’s not beat around the bush here – distracted driving in an increasing problem, and it’s only getting worse. We continue this relentless love affair with constant communication, Facebook browsing, and Tweeting our favorite celebrities, and it’s so bad that we can’t stop it even for a 20-minute drive across town. And, the worst part is that we know that doing it while driving poses a serious risk to not only ourselves but others on the road as well. With that said, it’s quite possible that this technology could really help prevent distracted driving. Not only will it block you from receiving any calls or messages, but you can’t argue with the old saying “out of sight, out of mind,” right? Well, maybe you can. See, this idea is a good one, but how many people will actually be able to take it upon themselves to actually put the phone down? Need I mention the Pokemon Go craze that resulted in people walking into traffic?

A Small Lesson

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The Faraday cage was invented way back in 1836 by Michael Faraday. Because of the conductive material on the outside of the cage, electric current can’t pass through the cage to affect anything that’s inside of it. And, believe it or not, a Faraday cage might be even closer to you than you might think. The concept really simple – a galvanized metal garbage can wrapped in a bunch of layers of aluminum foil will do the trick, as long as it’s insulated with something on the inside too. If you know a prepper, you might find him storing things like shortwave radio, batteries, or even walkie-talkies inside of these makeshift cages, just in case an EMP is detonated over the United States. And, believe it or not, this will actually work to prevent electronics from being destroyed by an EMP, but it doesn’t take all of that galvanized metal and multiple layers of aluminum foil to make the Nissan Signal Shield work. A simple layer of foil built into the armrest pocket will be enough to prevent signals from getting to your phone. Want to try it out for yourself? Wrap some aluminum foil around your phone and completely enclose it, then try to call it. Bet you that call doesn’t come through.

Nissan GB adopts Victorian-era (19th century) technology to reduce smartphone distraction while driving
Nissan Signal Shield concept creates in-car compartment that blocks all cellular, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals
Built into the armrest of Nissan’s acclaimed Juke crossover
Concept highlights a growing problem of smartphone use at the wheel
Almost one in five drivers admit to having illegally texted while driving
See the Nissan Juke Signal shield in action:
London, UK (May 03, 2017) – Victorian invention, 21st century application. Nissan GB has adopted a technology that’s almost 200 years old to create a concept solution for reducing smartphone distraction at the wheel.

The beauty of the design is its simplicity. The Nissan Signal Shield is a prototype compartment within the arm rest of a Nissan Juke that is lined with a Faraday cage, an invention dating back to the 1830s.

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

The concept is designed to give drivers a choice about whether to eliminate the distractions caused by the millions of text messages, social media notifications and app alerts that are ‘pushed’ to smartphones each day.

A growing problem, the number of drivers admitting to handling their phone in the car has increased from 8% in 2014 to 31% in 2016, according to the RAC.(1)

Users are becoming habitually more tempted to check text messages and notifications as they appear on their phone’s screen, even if they are driving. Nissan’s own research found almost one in five drivers (18%) admitted to having texted behind the wheel.

All Nissan crossovers are available with Bluetooth connectivity to allow drivers to make and receive hands-free phone calls when it is safe to do so. NissanConnect, or Apple CarPlay on the all-new Nissan Micra, enable further integration with a phone’s apps.

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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. It means a digital detox and a drive that’s free of incoming distractions.

If drivers want to listen to music or podcasts stored on their smartphone, they can still connect to the car’s entertainment system via the USB or auxiliary ports. The device will maintain wired connectivity even when in the Nissan Signal Shield compartment.

To restore the phone’s wireless connections, drivers just need to open the arm rest to reveal the compartment – which can be done without taking eyes off the road or touching the phone itself – and the phone can reconnect with the mobile network and the car’s Bluetooth system.

The innovation works on the principle of the Faraday cage, an enclosure made of a conductive material, such as wire mesh, which blocks electromagnetic fields. It is named after the pioneering English scientist Michael Faraday, who invented it in the 1830s.

When an electronic device, like a smartphone, is placed inside, any incoming electromagnetic signals – such as cellular or Bluetooth data – are distributed across the cage’s external conducting material and so prevented from reaching the device.

Alex Smith, Managing Director, Nissan Motor GB Ltd. said; “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. 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.”

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“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.”

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.”


Supporting Information:

A U.S study of over 1,000 drivers in 2014 found that 98% agreed it was dangerous to text and drive, but 74% claimed they had done so with 30% saying it is ‘simply a habit’ because they are so used to being connected to their phone, and they believed their driving performance was not impacted by texting.(2)

Dr Greenfield, founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at The University of Connecticut School of Medicine, who worked on the report, said at the time of publication; “We compulsively check our phones because every time we get an update through text, email or social media, we experience an elevation of dopamine, which is a neurochemical in the brain that makes us feel happy. If that desire for a dopamine fix leads us to check our phones while we’re driving, a simple text can turn deadly.” (3)

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Research by Nottingham Trent University found that the average user checks their phone 85 times a day and that ’rapid mobile phone interactions’, less than 30 seconds, are becoming habitual for smartphone users, with many not realising the frequency with which they check their phone.(4)

Young drivers in particular are more likely to be distracted. Just under half of drivers (49%) aged 25–34 admitted they sometimes go online or use apps while driving. Almost a third of drivers in the same age group said they do this several times a week at least.(5)

These compulsive habits are both dangerous and illegal. Drivers are four times more likely to be in a crash if they are using a phone whilst driving, and their reaction times are two-times slower than those drink-driving.(6)

Police believe more road accidents are caused by drivers using their mobile phones at the wheel than is currently shown in official records. Half of those surveyed also agreed the role of phones was even overlooked in fatal crashes, which currently account for around 20 fatalities a year.(7)

The UK introduced stricter penalties in 2017 for drivers caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel – six penalty points and a £200 fine.

Notes for editors

(1) RAC -

(2) ATT - It Can Wait Campaign (




(6) BMJ ( and IAM Roadsmart (’t-poke-me-i’m-driving.pdf)

About Nissan in the UK

Nissan Sunderland Plant produces the Nissan Qashqai, Juke, Infiniti Q30 and the 100% electric Nissan LEAF
Production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles began in 2012
Total plant volume since 1986 stands at more than 9 million units with 80 per cent of production exported to over 100 markets worldwide
Total investment made and announced since then is over £4.0 billion
507,436 units were produced at Sunderland plant in 2016
Employment in Nissan’s UK design studio (Paddington, London), technical centre (Cranfield Bedfordshire), manufacturing plant (Sunderland, Tyne and Wear) and sales and marketing operations (Maple Cross, Hertfordshire) now totals more than 8,000.
A further 28,000 jobs in Nissan’s UK supply chain and 4,000 in its UK dealer network takes the total British jobs supported by Nissan to more than 40,000

About Nissan in Europe

Nissan has one of the most comprehensive European presences of any overseas manufacturer, employing more than 17,000 staff across locally-based design, research & development, manufacturing, logistics and sales & marketing operations. Last year Nissan plants in the UK, Spain and Russia produced more than 660,000 vehicles including award-winning crossovers, commercial vehicles and the Nissan LEAF, the world’s most popular electric vehicle. Pursuing a goal of zero emissions and zero fatalities on the road, Nissan is leading the field with its vision of Intelligent Mobility. Designed to guide Nissan’s product and technology pipeline, this 360 degree approach to the future of mobility will anchor critical company decisions around how cars are powered, how cars are driven, and how cars integrate into society. Nissan is positioned to become the most desirable Asian brand in Europe.

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