Phillips 66, Square Robot and Veritank said they deployed an autonomous robot that performed its first in-service inspection of the interior of an above-ground, diesel storage tank.

The autonomous robot was designed and manufactured by Boston-based Square Robot, and received National Electric Code Class 1, Division 2 (C1D2) certification, allowing inspections while the tank is in-service and filled with product. The robot eliminates the need for a human to enter the tank. It also captures images of the tank interior and provides insight into sediment levels and coating condition.

In the next phase of development, the partners plan to deliver a system certified for C1D1 operations, allowing in-service inspections of lower-flash point liquid storage tanks, such as crude and gasoline.

Square Robot was started by three subsea robotics professionals in 2016 to address the market for swimming autonomous robots for oil and gas applications. In addition to terrestrial tanks, the autonomous technology is expected to have applications for subsea infrastructure inspection.