The energy industry is witnessing a growing interest in adopting robotic technologies for unmanned operations, such as asset inspection. Robots performing inspection tasks are safer, cost-effective and can help minimize risks, especially when assets are in extreme environments. Although different studies highlight the positive impact that the adoption of robots may have in the energy industry, there is little evidence of the robustness of such tools during operation. This is mostly due to the limited access for the scientific community to operational sites and corporate data, and to the limited availability of robust robotic platforms certified to - and thus allowed to - operate under specific conditions. This study aims at filling this literature gap by testing one of the few robot platforms available in the market that are well-suited for the energy industry, as they can be released with an ATEX certification (ATmospheres Explosibles) for operation in environments with explosive atmospheres.

This paper tests the robustness of a quadruped robot in autonomous inspection activities on a mineral lube oil console used to lubricate gas turbines and available at the Baker Hughes site in Florence (Italy). A qualitative analysis of robot performances in critical tasks for mission accomplishment - such as locomotion, step climbing, visual inspection, recharge, and docking - has been conducted and discussed.

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