IBM said last week that its inventors have been granted a patent for transferring packages between drones during flight.

The invention described in US Patent No. 9,561,852: In flight transfer of packages between aerial drones helps to extend the range of drones that are delivering packages from a warehouse to a customer’s home.

IBM inventors developed this patented system using their supply chain expertise to enable precise delivery services to customers using drones, the multinational tech firm said in a statement.

The aim of this technology is to extend the range of drone delivery for shipping, with more companies working towards adopting this delivery method. One of the current drawbacks includes limited flight range, and this invention could help solve this problem.

Customers can dispatch their personal drones to receive and deliver the package to their desired locations, also minimizing theft of unattended packages, according to IBM.

“Drones have the potential to change the way businesses operate and by leveraging machine learning, drones could change ecommerce,” said Sarbajit Rakshit, IBM Master Inventor and co-inventor on the patent. “Our inventor team is focused on improving how the most valuable cargo is delivered globally. This could create opportunities such as managing drones to deliver postal packages and medicine in developing countries via the most direct route.”