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Nicole Valin took a trip off the auto show floor and into the future on Saturday during the first public day of the 2017 North American International Auto Show

The Roseville mother and sales assistant sat herself down into Ford’s Future Mobility Virtual Reality Express ride, placed an Oculus head set with virtual reality goggles over her face and head and took off for the future where people fly across the city in drones, self-driving vehicles transport busy families to daily destinations and young people co-share leased cars.

“It was really cool. I have never done VR before and it was so realistic. Oh yeah. My stomach dropped a couple of time,” Valin said laughing and a little out of breath after the 4.5-minute experience which requires a waiver to ride.

On the idea of sitting in a driver-less vehicle with her own children, ages 7 to 10, and having her back to the steering wheel as was depicted in the video:

“It’s a little unnerving at first, but for my son and the next generation it’s going to be a no brainer for them,” the 37-year-old said

From autonomous vehicles and electric cars, to iconic supercars and full-size trucks, the auto show has something for everyone at the public show, which opened Saturday in downtown Detroit at Cobo Center.

Surrounded by wall-sized video screens showing images of moving colorful cars with music blaring at every turn, visitors like Cleveland Williams and Deandre Jackson got up-close-and-personal with dozens of vehicles from electric cars to muscle cars to hybrids.

“It’s a major upgrade from last year, bigger and better. More cars have wifi now. I like to see new ideas,” Williams, 20 of Detroit said.

Over near the Chevy exhibit, six men stood around an complete engine assembly for Chevy’s Duramax Diesel 6.6L V-8 engine and talked shop.

Pat Morgan of New Baltimore took a few minutes at the auto show to explain the valve train and how it works to his 12-year-old son Ryan. The engine engineer for Ford said the show was wonderful.

“Everyone is in good spirits and enjoying the show,” Pat Morgan said.

Detroit Auto Show

Where: Cobo Center, 1 Washington Blvd. in downtown Detroit

Dates and times

8 a.m. daily - Early access for handicapped individuals

Enter at the Hall C Entrance only

Today through Saturday, Jan. 21

9 a.m. - 10 p.m. (no admittance after 9 p.m.)

Sunday, Jan. 22

9 a.m. - 7 p.m. (no admittance after 6 p.m.)

If you go

■Auto show attendees can download the official NAIAS app which has the latest breaking automotive news, photos and videos, to live stream video coverage of new vehicle and concept car unveilings and a map of the show floor.

■The American Red Cross will be hosting a blood drive on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and Jan. 21 from 2 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. in rooms 250 ABC . American Red Cross staff members encourage both walk-ins and/or scheduling appointments at

■A daily parade of cars, local stars and surprises from The Parade Company, organizers of America’s Thanksgiving Parade kicks off on Saturday and truns through Jan. 22 on the main show floor at 3:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. daily. Each parade will feature ultra-luxury automobiles, local personalities from television, radio and sports, and even some clowns and special props from The Parade Company.

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