Your estimation of the technology being 20-30 years off sounds quite logical--and you being from the field of study that you were in makes you well equipped to analyse these news stories and provide reasonable critique.
I work in the software industry and I concur. We are a long ways off when it comes to fully automonous vehicles. What I see likely occurring in the near to mid term is that cars/trucks will have some autopilot capabilities built into them. This will actually be beneficial to long haul drives. But they won't have the necessary AI to perform complex tasks yet. We will get there eventually, but there are a myriad of problems one has to overcome.
Often times, people get drawn into the hype when charismatic tech leaders like Musk tout the futuristic capabilities of their technology. But a lot of that are just sales pitches. Pie in the sky boasts are part in parcel with getting visibility for your brand.
One great example I always think about when it comes to bad predictions is the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey. It came out in 1968. It depicted a future (in 2001) with space habitats, a presence on the moon, routine commercial space travel, etc. Well, here we are in 2018 and we don't have hardly any of that. With the exception of the International Space Station, which is no where near as advanced as what was depicted in the movie.
But the real interesting portion was the Hal 9000 computer. Now in 2018, our computer technology is impressive. The have the World Wide Web. We have computers in our pockets in the form of cell phones. Near instant communication with anyone. But when it comes to AI, or Artificial Intelligence, we don't have anything remotely close to what the Hal 9000 was. That was a fully sentient, artificial intelligence. As Percy mention above, the only thing that has some commonality with Hal is Watson. Yet it is clearly not self aware. It is basically a very advanced big data mechanism.
So yes, we have made progress. But we have a long way to go.
Many of the younger Millennials who are in the industry that designs and builds this technology are, in my opinion, far removed from the nuts and bolts technology of an actual car, not to mention the early technology involved in computer design.
This is actually an issue that is becoming more prevalent in software. For Gen Xers like myself, many of us were hobbyists that put computers together by ourselves. Before companies like Dell existed. And we often times had to hand code software without the benefit of more adept development environments like Microsoft Visual Studio or Java Eclipse. Now these dev environments expedite coding and make things easier. But often times, they obfuscate a lot of the particulars of the low level code itself. Millennials having grown up in an environment where the low level code is done for them often are ill equipped to handle certain types of problems.
But try, "Hey Siri, show 17 Cowesett Road, Warwick, RI" and it will get it wrong time after time no matter how carefully you pronounce "Cowesett." If you've got Android give it a try and see if it does any better. We've got an Alexa Dot that we use a little, and it is much smarter than Siri at answering questions, for one example, "How many Jews were killed during World War II?" But I don't know if it's also better at speech recognition.
If you want a really good laugh, check out some of the viral videos of people from Scotland trying to use voice recognition. Like so: