The recent crash involving a bus and a Google self-driving car was not a surprise according to the US transport secretary.
Anthony Foxx told the BBC that accidents involving the vehicles were inevitable, but that driverless technology had “a lot of potential for disruption on a number of fronts”.
The crash, which did not cause any injuries, was caught on video by eyewitnesses, and was the first time the technology had been blamed for an incident.
Previous near-misses have been attributed to human error rather than the software, which uses a range of sensors and cameras to constantly analyse its surroundings.
“It’s not a surprise that at some point there would be a crash of any technology that’s on the road,” added Mr Foxx.
“But I would challenge one to look at the number of crashes that occurred on the same day that were the result of human behaviour.”
The US transport secretary was speaking at SXSW, the music and innovation festival taking place in Texas.
“I think the question here isn’t comparing the automated car against perfection, I think it’s a relative comparison to what we have now on the roads which is you and I, and our eyeballs, and our brains.”
Google has been developing driverless car technology for some time, and is in the midst of rigorously testing the technology on the streets of Mountain View, where the company is based.
While at SXSW, Foxx announced that seven US cities had reached the final round of a government competition to receive $40m in funding for smart technologies.
Austin, Columbus, Denver, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Portland and San Francisco are looking to begin similar schemes to that running in Mountain View.
The Chancellor, George Osborne, is expected to mention the technology reaching UK roads in this week’s Budget announcement.