80% of accidents may be due to pilot error, but probably close to 99% of all would-be crashes due system failures do not turn into an accident because of pilot intervention, and therefore never make it into the accident statistics. Take the pilots out, and you'll see at least an order of magnitude more crashes unless technology improves drastically.
I'm a pilot, I've never had a crash (like the vast majority of pilots), but I've had several situations where automation failed (either completely shutting off or doing something unexpected and dangerous) and a crash would have resulted if we hadn't taken over.
In fact, there are lots of crashes that are attributed to pilot error not because the pilots were the only cause for the accident, but because some system failure occurred that should have been handled safely by a well-trained pilot and somehow wasn't. We are expected to handle these problems, so if we don't, it's our fault (and rightly so).
Take Air France 447 for example, airspeed sensors iced up, autopilot disconnected, other flight crews in the past had had the same problem but handled it well, these pilots got confused and crashed. Probably goes into the statistics as pilot error, but without pilots the plane would have crashed anyway. Every time, including on those flights where the crew did handle the situation correctly (even with inadequate procedures for this particular failure at the time) and landed safely.
Another example, the Turkish Airlines flight that crashed short of the runway in Amsterdam. The plane was flying on autopilot, yet it's "pilot error" because the pilots should have immediately reacted when the autothrottles pulled the throttles back to idle and the airspeed decayed rapidly. Caused by a malfunctioning radio altimeter which let the automation think the plane was low above the runway and it was therefore safe to pull the throttles back for touchdown. There's a reason why we have an initial training and a yearly recurrent training for automatic landings. Haven't had the training? Manual landings only.
So no, automation is not safer than human pilots. Not by a long shot, at least not yet. And given the slow pace of technological advancement in aviation, it will be a very long time before it will be.
Take military drones, for example. Their mission is not exactly complicated: in relatively nice weather, take off, fly a predetermined route, drop some bombs, fly back and land. There aren't nearly as many drones as airliners flying around, yet drones crashes happen all the time, it's not even news.