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Nissan Takes a Time Out

Nissan Unveils Time Out Quieting Feature
by Beth Garcia

Parents having a difficult time gaining their children's attention while in the car may soon find a solution in Nissan's most recent audio muting technology system, Time Out.

The new audio feature allows a vehicle's driver to simultaneously mute all audio systems within the concept vehicle and then broadcast driver announcements through interior speakers. Placed strategically on the steering wheel, the Time Out button offers drivers complete control of the Forum's multiple Bose Media systems, which are available to nearly every passenger.

According to Bruce Campbell, vice president of Nissan Design America, the Time Out function was just one of the many family-friendly features packed into the Forum concept, Nissan's edgy, family transportation vehicle.

"We wanted this exploratory design concept to not only provide a way to get the kids, grownups and all their stuff where they want to go, but also to satisfy both parent and kid needs," Campbell said.

With the vehicle offering individual entertainment systems to every passenger — which include connections for iPods, televisions and MP3 players — the Time Out feature can silence the Forum's cabin should its become too noisy.

According to Joel Baek, lead designer for the Forum, features like the Time Out button are the future of family transportation and passenger vehicles. Baek said Nissan is working to not only provide vehicle performance, but also passenger ease.

"The purpose of this design [Forum] was to bring together the aspects drivers want," Baek. "We wanted to be able to bring the outside into the vehicle, but also shut it out if we want."

In addition to the Time Out button, the Forum concept is also loaded with a "Kids Cam," an electronic camera system that allows the driver to view backseat passengers on a display panel up front. The front-wheel drive Forum was designed with three rows of seating, two captain chairs up front, a third-row bench and a "Turntable Seating" multi-position second row, which swivels up to 180 degrees.

Campbell said the Forum concept is still years away from production, and any upcoming model year vehicle will be based on consumer response. However, he did not deny consumers could see features from the Forum concept, including the Time Out button, on future Nissan models.

"Our intent with this is to see what kind of emotions these features elicit, and we will go from there," he said.

To learn more about Nissan concept vehicles and features, or Nissan products, visit Nissan USA.