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Cadillac Wireless Phone Charger May Help Prevent Distracted Driving

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Cadillac Powermat wireless phone charger.

Cadillac Powermat wireless phone charger. Photo courtesy General Motors

Cadillac will offer a wireless phone charging pad that may make a small contribution to preventing distracted driving, writes Jeff Glucker for Motor Authority. As Glucker puts it, “We’re all for this setup as it reduces wire-based clutter, and could possibly make a (very) small dent in the distracted driving realm.”

“Cadillac wants you to put your phone away,” Glucker writes. “Well, all automakers do really, but Cadillac will soon offer you a bit of an energizing incentive to do so.”

Called “wireless inductive charging,” the technology (which is already available as an option on the all-new Lexus NX, as Glucker points out), will first be available in the 2015 Cadillac ATS and later in the automaker’s upcoming CTS sedan and Escalade models, writes Matt Burns for Tech Crunch. “The Powermat charging pad (a rubber mat, Glucker notes) will be behind the car’s motorized CUE infotainment screen,” he writes. Once you press a button, the screen will lift up, and you will see a storage bin containing the charging pad to place the phone on, Burns writes.

Glucker writes that the system seems like magic. The pad is a small electromagnetic field that gives energy to recharge the battery. Burns writes that unfortunately most devices that have wireless charging are not compatible with the Powermat charging pad because they use the Qi system, which is incompatible with Powermat. Cadillac’s new system is compatible with a small number of devices, namely all those that are PMA-certified, Burns writes.

However, Chris Davies writes for Slash Gear that Cadillac told his publication that Powermat is indeed compatible with the competing Qi standard. “That means phones with native support for cable-free charging like Samsung’s Galaxy S5, the Nexus 5, and several Nokia Lumia Windows Phones, will also be able to take advantage of it,” Davies writes. Drivers with iPhones will need to choose which standard to use, as their phones currently do not support any wireless charging technology, Davies reports.

This wireless charging system contributes to preventing distracted driving by keeping the phone out of sight, Glucker writes; that way, the driver can access any smartphone functions through the infotainment system.

As Distraction.gov reports, “At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010.” In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in distracted driving accidents, and an estimated 421,000 were injured, Distraction.gov writes.

Here is a video about the Powermat technology:

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