Need of new tools to compensate commercial tools for steel well finding that are easy-to-use and lack of available borehole finding tools for non-ferrous and non-metallic wells.


LBNL is developing a drone based well identification tools using active source EM technology. It is aimed to offer an alternative to commercial magnetic tool with the following advantages:

  • New sensing modality for non-metallic wells
  • Easier to use/interpret
  • Sensitive to non-ferrous materials
  • More accurate location
  • Less sensitive to cultural noises

Short Term Impact:

Offers a new well identification tool to improve identification accuracy and reduce uncertainty.

Long term impact:

A scalable approach that can be easily adopted by stakeholders for undocumented well identification.


  • Acquired and demonstrated baseline hardware for tool development.
  • Identified key performance metrics and developing numerical simulations to aid equipment design.

Research Products



Yuxin Wu
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Drone-EM System

Drone-EM System

Flight path and signal from well​: Nine parallel profile lines in the pilot survey.

Flight path and signal from well​: 1st window dB/dt field of the drone-EM survey (worm’s eye view)

Numerical simulation of EM-IP response ​– a signal for non-metallic wells.