The automaker, long absent from the city proper, will create a hub there for work on self-driving and electric cars.
The move will take advantage of lower costs and clear the way for a new Michigan plant to make driverless vehicles instead, which Ford said would mean even more jobs.
With fewer cultural hurdles and more financial incentives than car owners, big-rig operators are charting the route to an autonomous future.
Arizona’s promise to keep the driverless car industry free of regulations has attracted dozens of companies, including Uber, Waymo and Lyft.
In a fatal accident last year, the National Transportation Safety Board said, the automaker allowed autonomous driving in unsuitable conditions.
The automaker is showcasing its autonomous-vehicle technology with a trial of Domino’s deliveries in Ann Arbor, Mich.