The hype around driverless cars came crashing down in 2018

“I’ve been seeing an increasing recognition from everybody—OEMs down to various startups—that this is all a lot tougher than anybody anticipated two or three years ago,” industry analyst Sam Abuelsamid told Ars. “The farther along they get in the process, the more they learn how much they don’t understand.”

In the self-driving world, there’s been a lot of discussion recently about the hype cycle, a model for new technologies that was developed by the Gartner consulting firm. In this model, new technologies reach a “peak of inflated expectations” (think the Internet circa 1999) before falling into a “trough of disillusionment.” It’s only after these initial overreactions—first too optimistic, then too pessimistic—that public perceptions start to line up with reality.