Driving toward the future: Mac grad working on ‘fully autonomous’ vehicle


Mark Costin is one of the drivers behind the driverless car.

An automotive functional safety engineer with Google, Costin is part of a team of very smart people working on one of our future modes of transportation — a fully autonomous vehicle that requires no human intervention.

“Safety is paramount,” said Costin, who graduated from McMaster with a master’s in Chemical Engineering in 1981, and then completed his PhD in 1984 from Case Western Reserve University.

He had originally planned on a career as a professor, but decided to get some industry experience first. He went to work at General Motors as a research engineer and never looked back.

Much of his career at GM was devoted to the safety of mechatronic devices — such as the Electronic Throttle Control, a rather important part of your car that controls the acceleration rate when you press the pedal.

For his industry leadership, Costin was elevated to Fellow in the Society of Automotive Engineers, their highest honour.

Google recruited him in 2012, no doubt because of his 28 years of experience with safety-critical automotive systems.

“Google is a really exciting and fun place to work,” said Costin. “It was easy to join the team.”