Speaking about self-driving cars last September, Elon Musk preached caution. The man who wants to send us all to space and shuttle us between cities at outrageous speeds told the FT that "my opinion is it's a bridge too far to go to fully autonomous cars."

Somewhere deep inside the secret labs at Google X, Sergey Brin must have read that and smiled. And then climbed into his tiny car — the one with a strange smiley face for a front and a noticeably missing steering wheel — and with a single button press instructed his car to drive him wherever billionaires go to cackle at the short-sightedness of other billionaires.

On Tuesday night, onstage at the Code Conference in California, Brin revealed an entirely new take on a self-driving car, one decidedly more ambitious than anything we've seen before. Google's as-yet-unnamed car isn't a modified Lexus. It doesn't just park itself. It's an entirely autonomous vehicle, with no need for steering wheels or gas pedals or human intervention of any kind. You can't drive it even if you want to.