I can also see it becoming a contentious issue. And I can see it slowing down progress, but what I really don't see happening is political bickering like that causing the stagnation of progress. The (potential) utility is just too large, I think.
I mean, Tesla is announcing their semi today. My pet theory is that Tesla wants to go into automated driving much harder than they are; that they wanted the 3 to be fully autonomous (but failed) and that they want have their semi automated ASAP. Trump can yell and scream all he want, but at the end of the day lowering transportation cost while also making an enormous dent in the 27% is not something that political bickering can fight against.
edit: can you give me an idea of why the NYT is dumb so I can pretend to have read it? ;)