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Rwanda is the first country to give airspace to drones for the express purpose of flying blood to hospitals that request delivery.
Here, a Zipline drone rests on the launchpad, ready to slingshot into the air so it can deliver blood to one of Rwanda's hospitals.
The Silicon Valley company Zipline uses 6-foot-long drones to fly blood to health clinics and hospitals across Rwanda.
This is the drone staging area inside the main hangar at the Zipline compound, about an hour's drive outside Kigali, Rwanda.
Lab technicians prepare blood platelets for flight via drone to rural hospitals.
Units of blood are ready to ship to hospitals in the lab at Zipline's Rwanda headquarters.
A flight technician performs a preflight check prior to launching a drone.
The drones fly predetermined flight paths that have been loaded onto SD cards.
The drones are nearly human-size.
Weighing about 30 pounds each and carrying roughly 3 pounds of blood, the drones head to nine hospitals throughout the western side of the country after first receiving orders via WhatsApp texts.
After receiving a WhatsApp message request for blood, the drone is put on the launcher.
A drone is launched from the slingshot-like launchpad.
A tablet in Zipline's hangar tracks the drone's flight path in real time.
Inside Zipline's control tower, the operator maintains contact with air traffic control in Kigali.
Nine drones sit ready for deployment in the main hangar at the Zipline compound in Rwanda.
Phone, laptop and iPad help keep tabs on everything Zipline needs to know about its drones.
A cooler full of blood arrives at the Zipline compound, where it will be prepared for delivery to hospitals at a moment's request.
A lab tech prepares blood platelets for a drone flight.
This is one of the Zipline delivery drones. Each is about 6 feet long and weighs 30 pounds.
Kids line up along the fence to watch the drones land on their return to base.
Last month, Zipline announced an agreement with Tanzania, where it will make up to 2,000 deliveries a day next year, to more than 1,000 health facilities across the country.
A bag of B+ platelet concentrate in the lab.
Young kids press their noses against a chain-link fence to watch the drones take off and land.
As it returns for landing, a hook on the drone's underside snags a rope strung between two poles, stopping instantly.
Once the rope snags a drone, it falls onto a giant inflatable cushion. From there, the drone is taken to the hangar to be checked and prepped for its next flight.