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This paper describes a solution to a mobile climbing robot on magnetic wheels, designed for inspecting exterior oil tank surfaces made of metal sheets. A mechanical design has been developed which presents a practical solution without an umbilical cord. The inspection system has been developed based on client/server architecture. The robot runs a client application and a remote PC executes the server functions. They will both allow any necessary inspections to be performed simultaneously by more than one robot. A sensorial system and a data fusion strategy to estimate the absolute robot position is proposed to allow the robot to navigate autonomously. The graphical monitoring of the robot position in the remote PC (server application) provides the operator with the possibility of controlling the robot, even in situations in which the operator visibility of an area tank is very low or inexistent. Previous experiments have demonstrated the mechanical system's robustness. These experiments consist of robot trajectory measurements and the comparison to a motion kinematic model.