Re: They kinda do and kinda don't
""In theory" an automated car SHOULD be safer, but "in theory" communism works out nicely"
One of these things is not like the other. I could write "in theory QED works out nicely", and it does to many places of decimals. If you want to argue, do not use false equivalence.
However I suspect that eventually it will work like this: road use charging will happen and in autonomous mode the road use charge will include third party insurance (the liability issue). In manual mode charging will have an additional component to cover you based on your assessed risk, probably varying with speed and acceleration.
Don't like it? Pay an averaged charge for annual road use and pay a specialist insurance premium for your petrol powered manual car. It may not be that expensive because once enough of those manual petrol cars have been totalled, there won't be any more.