Google, Ford, Volvo and the ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft are forming a coalition to push for federal action to help speed self-driving cars to market.

The Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets said it would work with lawmakers, regulators and the public to "realise the safety and societal benefits of self-driving vehicles".

Former US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) head David Strickland will be the coalition's counsel [lawyer] and spokesman. The NHTSA is writing new guidance on self-driving cars and is scheduled to release its guidance to states, policymakers and companies in July.

Strickland said in a statement: "The best path for this innovation is to have one clear set of federal standards and the coalition will work with policymakers to find the right solutions that will facilitate the deployment of self-driving vehicles."

Ford said in a statement the group would "work together to advocate for policy solutions that will support the deployment of fully autonomous vehicles".

NHTSA California has proposed barring self-driving cars that do not have steering wheels, pedals and a licenced driver ready to take over in an emergency, which Google has opposed. Under current regulations, fully autonomous vehicles without human controls are not legal.

In February, NHTSA said the artificial intelligence system piloting a self-driving Google car could be considered the driver under federal law, a major step toward approval for autonomous vehicles.