As of 1 February of 2018, new rules promulgated by the Swedish Transport Agency will apply to drones. The most significant changes are that all drones weighing less than 150 kilos will be covered by the rules. It will therefore no longer matter if the purpose of the flight is private or commercial. Drones used for special activities – military, customs, police, search and rescue, fire fighting, coast guard and accident investigation – will be exempted from the new rules. For these activities, special conditions apply instead. The license requirement for drones weighing less than 7 kilograms and flying within sight will be removed. Carl Svernlöv outlines the other changes introduced by the new regulations below.
In the autumn of 2016, the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court ruled that a camera mounted on a drone is considered a CCTV camera for purposes of the Swedish Camera Surveillance Act (2013:460). The judgment meant that using a drone equipped with a camera, where the camera will be directed at a place to which the public has access, requires a license from the County Administrative Board. Since a license in principle is granted only for the prevention of crime, the normal commercial and recreational use of a drone equipped with a camera immediately became for practical purposes prohibited in Sweden. New legislation has now been passed to exempt the private use of drone cameras from the permit requirements, making drone use in Sweden legal again on 1 August 2017.