Sending a package by drone is so yesterday. The new thing, at least according to a newly granted IBM patent, is handing off a package from one drone to another. The technique could extend the range of drone package delivery, or allow your drone to meet the shipper's drone mid-air for an exchange, thereby lessening the risk of a package being stolen.

Why it matters: Drones, and especially drone-based delivery is a hotly competitive area with UPS, Amazon and others experimenting to see what's possible. While IBM isn't likely to start making its own drones, the future of helping businesses transform themselves — IBM's bread and butter — involves embracing such technologies,

Our standard patent disclaimer: Getting a patent means someone at a company thought up the idea and the company thought it was worth protecting, not that any such product or service will ever become reality.

The quote: "Our inventors are always looking for new problems to solve," IBM Master Inventor Sarbajit Rakshit told Axios. "The system we patented could act as a faster and more efficient delivery system as drones mature."

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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