To facilitate the development of intelligent unmanned loaders and improve the recognition accuracy of loaders in complex scenes, we propose a construction machinery and material target detection algorithm incorporating an attention mechanism (AM) to improve YOLOv4-Tiny. First, to ensure the robustness of the proposed algorithm, we adopt style migration and sliding window segmentation to increase the underlying dataset’s diversity. Second, to address the problem that YOLOv4-Tiny’s (the base network) framework only adopts a layer-by-layer connection form, which demonstrates an insufficient feature extraction ability, we adopt a multilayer cascaded residual module to deeply connect low- and high-level information. Finally, to filter redundant feature information and make the proposed algorithm focus more on important feature information, a channel AM is added to the base network to perform a secondary screening of feature information in the region of interest, which effectively improves the detection accuracy. In addition, to achieve small-scale object detection, a multiscale feature pyramid network structure is employed in the prediction module of the proposed algorithm to output two prediction networks with different scale sizes. The experimental results show that, compared with the traditional network structure, the proposed algorithm fully incorporates the advantages of residual networks and AM, which effectively improves its feature extraction ability and recognition accuracy of targets at different scales. The final proposed algorithm exhibits the features of high recognition accuracy and fast recognition speed, with mean average precision and detection speed reaching 96.82% and 134.4 fps, respectively.
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