Client Case Studies

Utilising Drones & UAVs for Metallic Object Detection

Client: Department of Defence – Estate & Infrastructure Group

Traditionally, buried object identification has relied upon ground-based systems that are towed or driven across an area of interest. However, these capabilities are challenged in densely vegetated environments as land clearing is required for the technology to be effective. Additionally, 100% target certainty is unlikely with any one technology solution.

In these situations, Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) present an opportunity to detect and identify buried metallic objects, however it’s imperative that technology selection is not only suitable for varying terrain types, but also meets operational requirements.

Mirragin was engaged to investigate a suite of innovative and non-intrusive spatial solutions that would support a program of works to define the boundaries of the sites of interest and the potential anomalies present on each site. Specifically Mirragin was engaged to investigate the technology options and potential solutions that was available to assist with the detection of metallic objects within a variety of terrains including, urban, littoral, rural, savannah, grasslands, desert, scrub, forested areas, and tropical jungle.

Our Role

To achieve this scope of work, Mirragin used a systematic search approach. Technology options were identified and evaluated for their suitability for use in each of the different terrain types. Technology options were also assessed against other operational criteria such as cost, availability, and suitability for use on a UAV. This research supported the justification for the implementation of an RPAS program to complete the scope of works. The key benefits of the RPAS program were demonstrated to be:

  • Forgoing the requirement to clear land, which is expensive, time consuming and environmentally damaging
  • Allowing investigation work to be conducted in a more rapid manner
  • Generating a range of data which can be used to provide multiple lines of evidence that allow a risk-based decision to be made regarding each site


As a result of this research, Mirragin was able to generate a report that can be used in the tender documentation. This report also provides the foundation that can be used in the evaluation of tender responses to better enable the client to select the most appropriate service provider to conduct the program scope of works.

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