I launched a blood-delivering drone

The drone’s engines are running, and I have 30 seconds to twist the red safety switch on top of the metal control panel, hold the blue button, and then press the green button to launch the drone. It was like playing a high-tech Bop It, and the payoff was sending a nearly seven-foot-long autonomous fix-winged aircraft zipping off its metal runway and into the sky.

I’m at drone delivery startup Zipline’s new test site in California’s Central Valley to check out the new vehicle it was unveiling: a white-bodied, red-winged, battery-powered glider with a 10-foot wingspan that’s designed to air drop packages of medical supplies midflight. The buttons are on a metal control box mounted to a clear plastic shield that stands between my face and…

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