Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told a Chinese audience the carmaker is on the verge of developing fully self-driving cars, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: It's a claim he's made many times before, but has yet to deliver, so take it with a grain of salt.

  • Tesla just raised the price of its "full self-driving package" to $8,000, even though the feature is not yet activated on its cars.
  • That means customers are paying for the hardware, while the software is still in development.
  • For now, Tesla's Autopilot system still requires the driver to be fully attentive and ready to take over at any moment.

What he's saying: In a video message played Thursday during the World AI Conference in Shanghai, Musk said Tesla is "very close" to level 5 autonomy, meaning its cars won’t require any human intervention.

  • "I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level 5 autonomy complete this year," Musk said.
  • "I think there are no fundamental challenges remaining for level 5 autonomy."
  • "There are many small problems, and then there's the challenge of solving all those small problems and then putting the whole system together, and just keep addressing the long tail of problems."

Our thought bubble: In other words, Tesla is not on the cusp of level 5 autonomy.

What to watch: There could be a court ruling next week in a lawsuit brought by German officials over allegations that the name of Tesla's Autopilot system amounts to false advertising.

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Tesla's election-year gift to Texas

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tesla's decision to build a $1 billion factory in Texas is a good bit of economic news for a state that's suffering in the throes of the pandemic.

Why it matters: The creation of 5,000 new manufacturing jobs near Austin comes as the state's ongoing coronavirus outbreak threatens to overwhelm hospital systems and tears at the economy.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 20,755,406 — Total deaths: 752,225— Total recoveries: 12,917,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 5,246,760 — Total deaths: 167,052 — Total recoveries: 1,774,648 — Total tests: 64,831,306Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.

Trump says he intends to give RNC speech on White House lawn

President Trump speaking to reporters on South Lawn in July. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump told the New York Post on Thursday that he plans to deliver his Republican National Convention speech from the White House lawn, despite bipartisan criticism of the optics and legality of the location.

Why it matters: Previous presidents avoided blurring staged campaign-style events — like party conventions — with official business of governing on the White House premises, per Politico.