IBM said its inventors have been granted a patent for transferring packages between drones during flight.
IBM said drones are being used to transport packages to customer locations, but there are still challenges to this delivery method including limited flight range and theft of unattended packages once delivered.
“This invention can help to mitigate these challenges by providing in-flight drone-to-drone package transfers to extend package delivery range,” said IBM.
“For example, a customer expecting a package could dispatch a personal drone to receive and securely deliver the package to the customer’s home.
“Drone delivery network optimization could be provided to autonomous drones via the communications link described in the patent.”
Sarbajit Rakshit, IBM master inventor and co-inventor on the patent, said: “Drones have the potential to change the way businesses operate and by leveraging machine learning, drones could change ecommerce.
“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.”