Catch yourself a free ride in a self-driving car this weekend in Detroit

The World Congress Experience conference will have a public self-driving car demonstration that people can participate in this weekend.

The public demonstration event is part of an annual technology conference

There are numerous self-driving cars available for public demonstrations at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Mich. this weekend. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

If you've wondered about the safety of a self-driving car, you can see for yourself this weekend at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Mich.

There will be a free public demonstrations of self-driving cars, among other interactive displays, at the annual World Congress Experience conference.

Members of the public are invited to sign up for a free ride in a self-driving car, which will make turns on dedicated floor space inside the conference hall. Some options for vehicles include a self-driving Lincoln and a self-driving Pacifica.

Manal Nasser, left, and Mona Ramouni, who has a visual impairment, say the ride inside the self-driving car felt natural. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Mona Ramouni is excited for these vehicles, mostly because it will give her some independence.

She is visually impaired and cannot see or drive, and has to wait for Ubers or someone in her life to drive her and her daughters to places. Having taken a ride in the vehicles, she said they felt safe and she's excited to be able to use one soon.

"The turns, the braking, it all felt natural. I thought it was going to be more nervous than I was," said Ramouni.

On the other hand, Steven Kish, a retired IT worker, still has some apprehension for the technology.

He sees the potential for the vehicle in urban areas and for people with disabilities, but worries about electronic failure.

"Having worked 52 years with computers, they sometimes fail," said Kish.

The conference will run from April 5 to April 7.

Aside from self-driving car demonstrations, the public can also experience a distracted driving simulator and use virtual reality to explore the kinds of hardware used in a self-driving car.

With files from Dale Molnar


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