AbstractThe productivity analysis of cable crane transportation in the construction field is of great significance to improve crane equipment management and reduce operation costs. However, the traditional manual recording method of analyzing cable crane productivity is time-consuming and tedious. The existing vision-based method requires significant amounts of time to collect extensive images at construction sites and does not achieve high-precision detection in complex scenes. Thus, an automated vision-based method for productivity analysis of cable crane transportation is proposed using a new synthetic image approach based on an augmented reality (AR) technique. The unmanned aerial vehicle-based three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of a crane bucket model is superimposed on a realistic scene using AR to synthesize the images for vision-based model training without manual image acquisition at a construction site. The feature pyramid network and attention module are integrated into Faster region-based convolutional neural network (Faster R-CNN) to enhance the capability of feature extraction for the high-precision detection of a crane bucket and its ID number, which provides the logical basis for calculating productivity. The proposed vision-based productivity analysis method is evaluated on large-scale hydraulic engineering. The results demonstrate that the mean average precision (mAP) of detection performance is 98.01% using the model trained by AR-based synthetic images, which confirms the proposed AR-based synthetic image method could provide a new image generation mode for the construction industry. Additionally, the bias of productivity between the proposed method and ground truth is 0.03%, which confirms the effectiveness and accuracy of the proposed method.