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A maker of delivery drones called Zipline International began nationwide delivery of blood and other critical medical supplies in Rwanda today, through a partnership with the Rwandan government.

The program strikes a hopeful note about drones, following news earlier this week that members of ISIS packed a hobbyist drone with explosives in Iraq, killing two Kurdish fighters who captured and disassembled it.

Before the founding team of Zipline departed the United States to be present for the program’s launch in Rwanda, they gave TechCrunch a tour of their testing site, a base on a private cattle ranch just outside of San Francisco.

On a hillside dotted with grazing cows, horses and farm dogs, TechCrunch also got a first look at Zipline’s unique robotic systems for launching and landing their “Zips.”

Because of security concerns, Zipline asked TechCrunch not to disclose the specific location of this ranch where it has set up its headquarters and conducts its test flights.

Executives at the startup actually prefer to call their technology “flying robots,” “small planes,” or “Zips” and not drones. Read full article