Since the last decade, alternative powertrains are playing an important role in the strategy of car manufacturers. One important goal is the introduction of zero emission powertrains. These powertrain systems raise increasing political and public interest with the hydrogen fuel cell engine being the most competitive powertrain technology. During the development of this new technology, all the functional aspects including the automotive vehicle safety need to be considered. Hydrogen sensors are installed in the system to optimize the performance of a hydrogen fuel cell system and to enhance the safety concept. New results of sensor optimization and innovative test and development methods based on real vehicle data are described in this paper.